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'Stay away from negativity': PR Sreejesh, David Lee to youngsters ahead of Paris Olympics

Srjeesh was part of India's Olympic medal-winning team at the Tokyo Games in 2021, while Lee led the USA to gold and a bronze medal.

Stay away from negativity: PR Sreejesh, David Lee to youngsters ahead of Paris Olympics

Indian men's hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and former USA volleyball player David Lee.


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2 March 2024 7:28 AM GMT

As the anticipation and excitement go up for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, two Olympic medallists - Indian men's hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and Bengaluru Torpedoes head coach David Lee - talked about the pressure of playing in the Games as the 2024 Paris Olympics loom large.

Sreejesh played an important role in India's bronze medal-winning show at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Lee, on the other hand, led the USA to a gold and a bronze medal.

Talking about developing mental strength for competing on the international stage, Sreejesh said, "Goalkeeping is a mental game. Being a player, we understand how we want to get involved in a match. But being a goalkeeper, I just stand behind and my game is in my head."

"As a young player, my negative feelings used to dominate my positive feelings, and that would lead me to concede goals. Now, with my experience, things have changed for me, and I allow positive thoughts to dominate," he added.

Lee, meanwhile, discussed the role of correct coaching methods and modules in grooming young athletes and producing better results.

"We grew up in a positive environment. We did not have coaches who are telling us 'we are not good enough'. They were more interested in how much effort we are putting out. We are going to make mistakes. It's just a part of the game. What is important is we have to push through and try to adapt," Lee said.

"You can get short-term results out of negative atmosphere. But I don't think those methods are sustainable for a long period of time," he added.

Lee also advised youngsters not to focus on the negativity ahead of the Olympics.

"It definitely helps to have a few Olympics under your belt. You should approach it as any other tournament. Trust what you do day-in and day-out and do not put this massive weight, although it is the pinnacle of sports. It would be crazy to not understand the scale, and it gets very difficult to focus with all the media. But you cannot get too involved. It is better to just turn off and focus on the team," he advised.

Sreejesh, meanwhile, opened up about how he deals with the criticism that comes with the role of a goalkeeper. "It is a thankless job at times because if I made 10 saves and concede one goal, everyone will remember that one mistake. But I have accepted that and I have moved on with that. And this profession has helped me in my personal life on how to deal with pressure and criticism, as well," he said.

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