Celebrated on August 29, National Sports Day marks the birth anniversary of hockey legend Dhyan Chand. Known as ‘The Wizard,’ Major Dhyan ‘Chand’ Singh brought glory to the nation by winning three Olympic gold medals. Dhyan Chand’s methods of team building and motivating his team was as fascinating as his ways of commanding the ball with his stick.
India is home to many such sports personalities. But do we know the driving forces behind the success of these icons?
Sports and games bring people together and create memories. Sports stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal or P V Sindhu inspire millions to play like them and fulfil their dreams of representing their country one day. Just like how we idolise these sports icons, have you ever wondered whom they consider extra special?
This National Sports Day, let’s learn about those unsung heroes whose influence goes beyond physical training. They are the reason behind what these stars are today.
Yes, their coaches!
The best coaches in the history of sports have always impacted the game through their words and actions.
Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin Tendulkar’s coach
Ramakant Achrekar coached none other than batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar. He identified Sachin’s talents and helped him hone his skills to become one of the world’s best cricketers. His methods of training and motivating his pupils were quite unique. A hilarious anecdote of Sachin’s 13 coins is still special. During his practice days on the nets, Ramakant would place a one rupee coin on the stumps and challenge that whoever could get Sachin out could claim the coin. If Sachin remains unbeaten till the end of the day, he would get to take the coin. To date, Sachin has collected 13 such coins, which remain his most valued asset.
Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu’s coach
A former badminton player, Pullela Gopichand brought laurels to the nation by winning several international tournaments, including the All England Open Badminton Championship in 2001. Soon after he retired, he opened Gopichand Badminton Academy where he started training youngsters. His protegees include Olympic and BWF World Championships gold medalist P V Sindhu and ace players – Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap. His desire to provide his pupils with quality coaching even led him to convince Kim Ji Hyun, an international coach from South Korea, to prepare Sindhu and Saina for BWF World Championships.
O M Nambiar, P T Usha’s coach
The first recipient of the Dronacharya Award, O M Nambiar first spotted P T Usha when he visited a school in Payyoli, Kerala, to identify sports enthusiasts. He coached the Payyoli Express (P T Usha’s nickname) to unprecedented heights and made her the best athletes of her time.
Mahavir Singh Phogat, Phogat sisters’ coach
A man of few words, but big actions, you would know Mahavir Singh Phogat better from Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal. Hailing from Haryana, Phogat was a former wrestler, who trained his daughters to compete on international platforms. With his strict and unique regimen, Phogat was determined to train his daughters despite his whole village making fun of his decision.
The role of a coach goes beyond just coaching! They identify the hidden potential of each player, train and motivate them to give their best. Just like these sports coaches, we all have coaches or mentors in our lives, who create the right atmosphere for us to learn, grow and evolve.
Do you have a mentor who helps you learn better? Do tell us about them in the comments below.
Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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