I had the privilege of being invited to a Zoom Webinar which was organised by former badminton international Sanjay Sharma who has reinvented his career by setting up a coaching programme.
At this meeting were students of various age groups and amongst them current and future champions of the badminton sport. The subject of discussion was a cross reference of experiences and development of a sports person in two different branches of sport. In this case it was a cricketer, that was myself, and the others who were badminton players.
The difference between these two sports is that while badminton is an individual game, cricket is a team sport. However this discussion was centered round physical and mental preparation that is required in a team game, in this case cricket.
I was pleasantly surprised at the technical knowledge that the younger generation of the participants had and the awareness of requirements that involve physical and mental preparation for a player to excel in a competitive sport. It is not surprising therefore that with every generation the standard of performance continues to improve.
As a cricket coach and mentor myself I realised that over the years I have learnt and played the game we continue participating in a sport as long as we enjoy the game. The urge to compete and the motivation to better our performances act as catalysts to upgrade ourselves.
However to only participate in a sport with the objective of becoming a champion is a fatal mistake that most wards make. Sport is the best mind and body builder and by virtue of the uncertainty of the outcome it is a great leveler. In my opinion sport plays a vital role in enhancing the personality of an individual and it is an ideal method of enhancing all round development.
As the deliberations moved ahead the aspect of coordination between members of a team as in cricket came to the fore and the realisation that unlike badminton where you could win against your opponent if you won more points in cricket the team could end up on the losing side even with extraordinary individual performances if there was lack of coordination: “Team Work.” This is why cricket is considered a game endearing to a large populace who are attracted to the “Glorious Uncertainties” that is associated with the sport.
On a personal front I love watching a game of badminton as it requires a player to perform to the limits and beyond. The level of fitness required to excel would put to shame several professional cricketers.
My interaction with these young sportsmen brought to the fore several aspects of mental and physical strength that is often mentioned in many corridors of coaching clinics. I do believe with conviction that this is a subject that is often misrepresented by coaches by providing general solutions which may be equated to a “Shot in the Dark”. The best method is to profile your subject and provide customised solutions which are relevant to the individual. We ended this educational deliberation in “agreement” and therefore wiser for now.
(The author is a former Bombay and Hyderabad Ranji opener)
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