We are on a learning path - McDade
Striker Thornton McDade admitted on Thursday that the SA men's hockey team had not produced their best overall performance the previous night when they drew 3-3 in their one-off test against Ireland in Dublin.
McDade, however, felt the side had come a long way in their final build-up to the London Olympics.
"We are very much on a learning path at the moment," McDade said.
"We are learning a lot every game and we are making it really specific to where we want to go."
After taking the lead early on, South Africa twice had to come from a goal down to level matters by fulltime.
"It's really frustrating to work that hard to get the 2-2 draw and then to concede a pretty soft goal," McDade said.
"All along the guys mentioned that there was lots of time, knowing that it doesn't take long to score a goal in hockey.
"We could always get back into the game and I don't think the belief ever ended that we could even win that game."
Wednesday's test, the last match of South Africa's tour of Ireland, was played largely between the two attacking areas with both sides struggling to apply the final touch to take control of the game.
McDade scored the vital equaliser 40 seconds from time when he drilled a low shot into the bottom of the goal past Irish keeper David Harte.
"I had missed a few shots in the course of the Belgium and Scotland games and had worked hard on my mental preparation leading up to Wednesday's game," McDade said.
"I was relaxed and in the moment, to make sure that the first touch was good, and then instinct takes over in terms of the shooting skill. I just needed that to find the target."
The South Africans travel to Santander, Spain, on Friday where they will play the hosts and India on a blue astro turf, identical to the surface at the London Olympics.