Indian National Badminton coach Pullela Gopichand during a special online session organized by the Sports Authority of India emphasized coaches in the sports sector. He said the current athlete-centric funding program no longer helps to produce champions.
“The athlete-centric model does not benefit the sport as a whole. They benefit individual athletes”. Gopichand also said, “most successful models around the world are coach-driven. People working on the field should be the decision-makers,” he added.
Sports in India lack people with expertise. To build a high-performance ecosystem for athletes, investing in the right set of people is a must. Expanding the sports science division and bringing in Foreign coaches will be the right steps.
What is Sports Science?
Applying science to sporting activities. For any athlete to succeed, tactical creativity and game intelligence are very important. Sports science focuses on monitoring athletes' workload and wellness goals, those aspects that go beyond what is reported to the public. Game screening, training program monitoring, rehabilitation, injury management, and prevention, all of these help the coaching staff to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an athlete and the training program.
“Implementing the right training program, providing proper strength and conditioning spurs better performance and minimizes the risk of injury. In order to increase the longevity of an athlete, the coaching staff needs support from sports scientists who can help better manage health and well-being,” SSEP, Australia.
Need of foreign coaches?
Coaching, a sector of the sporting complex that has always been neglected in India. The accountability and performance of an athlete depend on how good a coach is.
Foreign coaches bring in expertise, different coaching techniques, skills, and game-level communication. “It's very important that we always have a healthy mix of foreign and Indian coaches. It is very substantial that we learn from them,” Gopichand added in the virtual interaction.
The benefit of having a coach-led edifice is that it concentrates on building a group of champions unlike benefiting an individual athlete. The level of competition will become higher and the structure will constantly throw up champions.
He also added, “One good player might last for 8 to 10 years. But one good coach, will last 30 to 40 years”.
A mix of foreign and homegrown coaches is always good for the system. All that a coach needs to be is good at the job, knows the game well, and has the ability to understand the athletes. If a coach has great skills but lacks sensitivity and attitude, it is of no use, as he/she cannot get the athletes to perform well.
Arvind Bhat, former Badminton player adds “I agree to what Gopi says here. With Coach led approach the coach and academy has more control and will be able to guide the given support correctly to the players. Coach has to be held accountable and future support to academy should be based on this. Many a times players take hasty decisions due to last of experience if the support is direct to players without the coaches or academy’s consent”.