Sports coaches assist athletes in developing their full potential. They are responsible for training athletes in a sport by analyzing their performances, instructing in relevant skills and by providing encouragement. But you are also responsible for the guidance of the athlete in life and their chosen sport.
Consequently, the role of the coach will be many and varied, from instructor, assessor, friend, mentor, facilitator, chauffeur, demonstrator, adviser, supporter, fact finder, motivator, counsellor, organizer, planner and the Fountain of all Knowledge. In relation to sports, the role of the coach is to create the right conditions for learning to happen and to find ways of motivating the athletes. Most athletes are highly motivated and therefore the task is to maintain that motivation and to generate excitement and enthusiasm.
Considered as a high-performance coach, the rifle coach of the Indian shooting team first gave India a star in Anjali Bhagwat and also helped a teenager by the name of Abhinav Bindra to remove the chinks in his armour. His second innings as coach saw Bindra climb up the podium in Beijing apart from winning the World Championship Gold in Zagreb in 2006. Szucsak also worked closely with Gagan Narang, and although he was not around by the time Narang won his London Bronze, his contributions were duly acknowledged by the shooter.
India’s boxing hit its highest point in 2012 when Vijender Singh brought home a Bronze in the middleweight category. Since then, Indian Boxing has lurched from one low to another. Nothing, however, has hurt the boxers more than the departure of Cuban Bi Fernandez, who was handed a two-year ban for his role of Sarita Devi’s protest at 2014 Asian Games.
An accomplished batsman who was recognized over the world for his grit and discipline when on the pitch, Gary Kirsten brought the same qualities to his coaching when he took over the reins of the Indian cricket team as it tried to put behind the traumatic Greg Chappell era. He made the Indians believe in themselves and play as a unit after the time with Chappell had left a divided dressing room. And the victories kept on coming.
Gopichand, the shuttler however lacked proper coaching facilities. And once he took coaching in 2004 he set to eradicate the same problems that hindered his rise in the sport. Gopichand’s acumen was quickly recognised and he was appointed as the national coach in 2006 and he made sure no Indian lacked on the grandest stage what he did. Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap may not have won the Olympic riches but under Gopichand, and in his champion churning Gopichand academy, they too are climbing up quietly to become World beaters.
India’s love affair with wrestling is ages old. But behind those three medals, there was one name that of Satpal Singh fondly referred to as Mahabali Satpal. A formidable force on the mat himself and a star of India’s wrestling scene in the 70s and 80s, Satpal’s akhada now trains many starry-eyed young wrestlers, who, inspired by Bhaiya Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt feat, want nothing less than an Olympic medal. India could win only two medals this time but the foundations are truly and honestly laid to make our competitors going a long way and achieve a podium finish in the years to come.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)