When we train a player, be it as a Performance Coach, a Sports Scientist or even as a Sports Analyst for that matter, we’re basically investing a lot of time on the player. I would like to believe that we work on them, to get them to tap into their true potential. Every member of the coaching team would want no less than for the player to bring laurels to the team at the biggest stage. Either in the near future, or in the long run. It’s a natural human tendency, we’d always love to think big. Well most of us do, right?
However, our process of manifesting those ‘thoughts and ideas’ into reality usually stops at the preliminary stage itself, and the reality never gets to see the face of the day. Why does this happen? Do we tend to go into management mode? Does our creativity take a back seat?
When I look at an athlete, I’d like to consider him as a ‘non-rigid body’ on which the ‘Kinetic & Kinematic’ principles should be applied to obtain accurate values and work on his development based on those accurate measures. Consider the athlete as a ‘Biological System’ undergoing innumerable changes in response to the training i.e. muscle architecture (Morphology), energy systems(Metabolic Pathway), enzymatic activity (Bio-catalyst), hormonal secretions (Endocrine System) et al. Okay, enough of that Sports Science going on there, I'll chose another day to elaborate on that. However, even before we structure our programme to fall in line with the process, we start thinking about the results, which in turn leads to the fear of failure if the process doesn’t work.
The point is, hitting peak performance is equally important for a coach as much as it is for a player. As a matter of fact, they both are inter-dependent on each other, and, creativity is the trump card in this process. Now, a question might pop-up in your mind. What is peak performance from a coaching perspective? Well, one thing I’ve realized moving forward and from whatever little experience I’ve had working in a professional setup is ‘creativity will take the front seat only if you let emotions take a back seat’. I’m not trying to imply that Emotional Intelligence is bad. It’s just that we need to know when to draw a line on it.
Now, there will be repercussions for this and we should be ready for it, as everything comes at a price in today’s day and age. Nobody cares about your potential or creativity as a coach or mentor, if the results are not to be seen. But, I believe the way forward for Indian Sports to experience a massive breakthrough at the biggest stage is the requirement for the coach to push the boundaries of creativity, and this is easier said than done. A creative mind needs to put in double the hard work to master his craft to the extent where his ideas can flow freely without any limitations, and that definitely is the first hurdle to surpass in the process to exploring your true potential as a sports coach or a scientist.
We all would want to be associated with big Indian clubs & academies as Sports Coaches and Sports Scientists, but my question is how are we making any difference? If we’re just following an already ‘Outdated Theory of Coaching’ by foreign standards, while they’ve already paced ahead of our learning curve. The kind of work and extensive research carried out on ‘The Science Behind Sporting Performance’ by ‘Americans, French, Britons and Russians’ is hallucinatory to say the least, no doubt about that. We could take a cue out of their work, but we also need our very own bright minds not just to think along those lines but instead tweak the already laid out theory according to their imagination, to give that double impetus which would help us catch up with the curve.
The first step to Sporting Evolution in India is to develop the ability to think out of the box, and not complaining about the technological and infrastructural resources which we currently lack. This approach would bring us failure initially, but once we attain mastery over our respective discipline as a Sports (Coach/Scientist/Analyst/Doctor) Professional, the creative flow would only reap rich dividends.
As far as today’s work environment pertaining to Coaching & Performance Development in even the most renowned academies and organizations in India are concerned, I believe a more experienced individual would be a better judge of that. Open to your feedbacks on that.
We always speak about getting out of our comfort zones, but never really are able to. Well now it’s time to!
(P.S. I’ve learnt a lot at my first job in a full-fledged Sports Science role. I’d definitely want to be associated with a renowned club/organization eventually, but work on my own terms not caring a dime about some already laid out process, but have my own process, and for that I need to have complete mastery of my craft to be at my creative best.)
Sports Science Analyst & SNC.
(PG) Sports and Exercise Science. ISST, Pune.