Indian women’s hockey team midfielder Monika says that the gruelling ‘red sessions’ — mostly higher-intensity training sessions where the focus is on match intensity — are helping players get into peak fitness for of the upcoming Olympic Games.
“The focus now is to keep improving on our strengths and work on the weak points. Our aim is to peak at the right time. Every player’s workload is taken into consideration and improvement is mapped accordingly,” said 27-year-old Monika, who was part of the 2014 Asian Games bronze medal-winning team.
“Our awareness about each session, how it helps and what it’s for is much better now than before. Earlier, we would blindly focus what the coaches said. Now, we have the ‘red sessions’, which are mostly higher-intensity training sessions where we focus on match intensity with the idea of superseding match intensity,” she said.
The Chandigarh player says that the coaching staff plans the ‘red sessions’ “week-on-week” in such a way that the team peaks at the right time.
“Saturday mornings are the toughest. It is always a red session. Each session is either focused on speed or endurance or direction focused. We have about two-three such sessions a week. Those are the days when our fitness levels are really tested. Each day, we train anywhere between two hours to 4.5 hours,” said the player who was part of the 2016 Rio Olympics team.
Monika says scientific advisor Wayne Lombard’s constant monitoring of crucial aspects such as sleep and recovery, among others, is helping the players prepare better.
“We maintain a chart that has details of what we do the entire day. We need to mention details of the activities we pursue for recovery such as number of minutes spent for massage or ice bath or pool session, etc. We also record the number of hours we sleep. The coaching staff has inculcated a lot more awareness about how we must take care of our bodies and remain injury-free,” she added.