Fulton hopes to manage pressure well

Bengaluru:┬áIndian men’s hockey team’s chief coach Craig Fulton is well aware of the immense pressure associated with his new job, but he feels the demands of the assignment will help them perform at their best.

South African Fulton took charge of the Indian men’s team a fortnight ago, replacing Australian Graham Reid and his first assignment will be the FIH Pro League in the United Kingdom, beginning May 26.

“I understand there will be pressure to perform, obviously from the fans, the media and the team itself. I believe pressure can be a positive thing, it will help us focus and also perform at our best,” Fulton said in a Hockey India release.

“In terms of managing pressure, I’ll be working closely with players and support staff to create a positive and supportive environment where everyone can perform to their best. That’s the ultimate goal.” The 48-year-old is looking to put the team in top gear to finish the prestigious Pro League on a high.

“The five weeks before I arrived were an intense fitness block. We are in week six now and in the next two weeks before we fly to the UK for the FIH Hockey Pro League matches, the focus will be more on hockey and the tactical side of setting up the team,” said Fulton, who has nearly 25 years of coaching experience.

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“David John, who was the interim coach, has done a good job of putting the team in a good place. Now I look forward to preparing the team for competition,” Fulton said. The South African coached Belgium to the 2018 FIH World Cup triumph and the Tokyo Olympics gold during his stint from 2018-2021.

After reaching the SAI center here on April 29, Fulton took stock of the team’s fitness which has been the primary focus. “We had a speed and agility session at 7 am. It was good to watch the players move, the group is fantastic and I see the players are training hard,” added Fulton.