How has education helped you to achieve your sport goals?
When I was looking to get an education in this field, there was absolutely nothing in India. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to spend two years in New Zealand. The course was not only modern and progressive but also offered a diverse learning experience to me. Auckland University of Technology gave me all the possible tools needed for a successful career in strength and conditioning. The course was tough, where 90 percent is self-driven. This made me really dig in all my resources, study day and night, to develop critical thinking.
How do you plan the next level of your career?
The next level for me would be a legitimate international accreditation from a reputed organization like the UK Strength Conditioning Association or Australian Strength Conditioning Association, as well as a master’s degree in sport and exercise at some point.
How do you train the athletes?
We first spend a lot of time on needs analysis of the sport the athlete plays. We look at the athlete’s strength levels, movement quality i.e. physical literacy and come up with a profile to see where they stand on a continuum of performance. Generally, it is unlikely to find highly physically literate athletes in India, since they are not exposed to strength and conditioning/ physical education as kids, especially now in the digital age.
As the athlete gets better at the basics we start adding resistance training, so a lot of dumbbells and barbells, kettlebells, medballs and so on. The ongoing focus is always building strength which is king, after which we can focus on power development, and later sport specificity, which comes last as the athlete matures. All fitness qualities overlap in training, but the focus changes slightly based on athletes’ age and physical literacy. This is basically following the Long-Term Athletic Development Model coined by S&C coaches decades ago, which is just emerging in India.
Students face a lot study pressure nowadays. How would you suggest them to remain involved in sports and physical activities?
You must be extremely organized to be able to manage studies and sport at the same time. What really helped was-
(a) Spending a very miniscule amount of my day on social media, probably just 10 minutes or less every day
(b) Planning and scheduling every possible thing
(c) My most important suggestion would be to create a “must-do” list. This list will have all tiny wins for the day that you must prioritize over anything else.
Lastly, make sure your lists have just about three to five tasks. Too less and it won’t be as potent an impact in the long term. Too much and you will lose motivation.
It is unlikely to find highly physically literate athletes in India, since they are not exposed to strength and conditioning/ physical education as kids