Injuries are part and parcel of any sport, be it football or athletics. With youngsters, the chances of ligament tear or swollen ankle are optimum, given the intensity of the game.With modern day technology to fasten the healing process, a mental conditioning coach has become the new fashion in sports. An expert that helps an athlete to get through pressure situations during the course of a campaign, the need for mental trainer has increased immensely.Speaking about his experience with the current under-17 Indian team that will take field in FIFA U-17 World Cup, Dr. Swaroop Savanur says the boys have improved a lot over the last eight months.”The team has really improved in the last eight months in all aspects of the game. The team is rearing to go and I believe they are going to live up to their own potential and they are going to give their best for themselves and the country. I think we will have a World Cup worth remembering,” Swaroop told Mail Today.A former trainer for Vidarbha Cricket Association, Swaroop joined the team in February this year and was part of the felicitation program on Saturday where Hero MotoCorp Ltd wished the national team best of luck for the upcoming mega event.”It’s very natural for any injured player to want to get back to the field as soon as possible but of course the recovery takes its own time. During that phase, I tell the players to focus on other aspects of their game. I urge them to watch the videos of their old games and see how they are doing in their positions. In that case, they are mentally ready to get to the field as soon as they are physically fit. It’s all about focusing on things that you can control and not letting negativity take over,” added Swaroop.advertisementExplaining further on his training session with the youngsters, Swaroop explains, “I generally go about working in 3 phases — education, intervention and stabilisation. It’s very important that players understand how to take pressure and for that I first need to gain their trust. I do that through fun activities, videos of top players.”Once they understand the concepts, then we move to the intervention part, which includes different techniques, strategies and skills based on the need for each player. Then it’s the stabilisation phase, which is what I am practising with the U-17 kids right now.”At this stage, they know what to do so I’m only trying to keep them calm. This actually is a long process, takes years to get into your system but it’s a good start.”While preparations for the World Cup started four years ago, the pressure is on the rise as the date approaches. Swaroop tells how players get frustrated during the training session and require counseling at times.”My focus is on helping the players understand that their past performances are only adding to their experience because only then they can put that experience to good use and churn out results. For football players, it’s all about knowing their position, knowing how they want to play and playing freely. As long as they are doing that, all the other factors are left behind. As I said, the players have responded really well to these sessions,” he said.