Indian Women’s Hockey team chief coach Harendra Singh has started pushing the limit as far as fitness is concerned and that’s why he has introduced the yo-yo intermittent recovery test (level1) as well. The test was done under the watchful eyes of the team's scientific advisor Wayne Lombard.
When Anil Kumble was at the helm of the Indian cricket team, the players were encouraged to take their time while recovering, prove their fitness in domestic games and then make a comeback. But with Ravi Shastri taking over the new head coach role, things seem to have changed with Yo-Yo test being considered enough to test the fitness of the player. After its successful demonstration with the Indian team, Indian women’s team coach Harendra Singh put the senior team campers through their paces keeping an eye on the three major tournaments - Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and the World Cup – in sight.
Although no one expected the scores to be moderately good, it actually left the coaching staff pleasantly surprised as the highest score was 21.1 while the lowest was 17.7.
Speaking about the same, Harendra told TOI, "We are pleasantly surprised. The average is very good. We will take time to reach the optimum levels. But I'm glad the process has started."
Team’s scientific advisor, Lombard pointed to the improvement in the team's yo-yo test results and said, "When I first arrived, the team average was about 17. It went up to 17.5 and now it is just above 18. We also have seen improvement in their strength as well as speed over the last couple of months."
On being asked if they had set a passing mark for the players, the South African, who is a doctorate holder in exercise science from the University of Cape Town, replied, "Each player has their own individual target which we match up against position specific norms according to international performance standards. Individually, I look at something called smallest worthwhile change, which is seen as a statistically significant improvement. This is adjusted after each testing round, so we look for small improvements all the time."
"There is always room for improvement, but it is difficult to put a number on it. This is especially so with players running on the lower side of the team average. Ideally, we want every player running 18 or higher before the Commonwealth Games. That said, the yo-yo test is only one performance indicator. Things like strength, agility and speed, and repeat sprint ability are just as important, especially for injury prevention as well