Defender Rashmita Minz, who has been able to make just 13 appearances for the Indian women's hockey team so far after making her debut in 2016, believes in order to be a constant feature of the side, she needs to be on top of the game and keep improving.
In the four years since making her debut as an 18-year-old against Australia when the team played three matches in Melbourne under then chief coach Neil Hawgood, Rashmita has only been able to play two more tournaments for the country. However, the defender is determined to start afresh in this next phase of her career.
"I was really young when I came into the senior team in 2016, and since then it has always been challenging for me. But I have made sure that I have kept my work ethic and have given my best in all the national camps. It has been difficult because when you don't get picked, doubt creeps in," said Rashmita.
She, however, said her conversation with chief coach Sjoerd Marijne about her role in the team really helped her improve as she now knows what she needs to do more frequently.
"I do understand that having a good defensive unit can help the team in a lot of ways, especially in creating more attacking opportunities, which can subsequently lead to more scoring opportunities. Therefore, for me as a defender, it is imperative to be on top of my game and keep learning now," said the defender, who hails from Odisha's Rourkela.
Adding that entering the team's set-up at a younger age means that she still has time for a second debut of sorts, Rashmita said, "I think being 22 years of age at this moment helps me, because I know I have many more years of good hockey in me, and that I can still give so much to the team. I just want to make sure I can give myself the opportunity to be in a similar position again, and to play more matches and win more medals with the Indian team."
"I have had the time now to work on a lot of technical areas and also improve my physical fitness, and to also have the opportunity to spend so much time with the senior players here - to get to know how they approach each game, each session, and to understand about even the minutest of details. I have understood that there is room for improvement, and for development, and that has made my job much easier because I have created some targets for myself, and I will be making sure that I give my best to achieve those targets," she added.