Midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad has been in the thick of things since making his senior Indian hockey team debut in January 2018. The 20-year-old has played a key role in the team's victories at the FIH Series Finals and the FIH Olympic Qualifiers last year.
However, leading India to a silver medal at the 3rd Youth Olympic Games will always be one of the most special moments in his career. The midfielder has expressed that he understood the importance of short distance passes in that competition.
"In the 3rd Youth Olympic Games, we decided that we should move forward through short distance passes on the pitch. We felt that it's always better to stick to short distance passes and we were successful with this tactic in the tournament. Even in the senior international circuit, I applied the tactic of short distance passes and it has helped me. That was one of my big learnings from the 3rd Youth Olympic Games," said Prasad.
In his short senior international career so far, Prasad has acquired a rich vein of experience of playing in front of big crowds. The youngster spoke to his seniors about the things he needs to keep in mind while playing in front of big crowds during the initial matches of his career.
"There's an excitement and a sense of nervousness while playing in front of big crowds, especially in front of our home crowd. We tend to play much better in front of our own home crowd," said the 20-year-old.
"When I initially joined the Indian team, I spoke to my seniors about how to play in front of big crowds and they told me that if I focus only on my game then I will not be distracted by anything else. Now, I am comfortable playing in front of big crowds," he added.
Prasad, who was adjudged the FIH Rising Star of the Year 2019, also spoke about the aspects that have helped him evolve as a player.
"I have always worked very hard during practice sessions and I have only focussed on the present. I don't think too much about the future. I follow all the directives given to me by our coaches diligently and that has helped me become a better player," said the midfielder.
When asked about the activities he carried out during the 14-day self-isolation period after returning to the Sports Authority of India campus from home, Prasad said he mostly focussed on his fitness drills.
"It was really nice to meet my family during our break. We carried out our 14-day self-isolation period once we got back to the SAI campus in Bengaluru. We carried out the workout schedules given to us in our rooms. I mostly spent my time focussing on fitness drills and watched television as well," said the midfielder.