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Chennai Slam coach Prasanna Menon feels coaching is God’s gift

Prasanna had no interest in the game of basketball but is now managing a mens team.

Prasanna Menon
Prasanna instructs her players during a time-out

Her stature certainly accentuates her personality. Calm and composed, Chennai Slam coach Prasanna Menon, is cool as a cucumber while she manages her team proudly. Her stint as a coach of the Bengaluru Beast (UBA Pro Basketball League team) last year won her several laurels, which is why she’s presently managing the Chennai Slam, the winner of the first UBA Pro Basketball League in 2015.

From having no interest in the game of basketball to managing a men’s team, Prasanna has completely transformed as a person. She started as an athlete in the mid 1970s in Kerala. During her schooling days, owing to her good height, Prasanna was selected in the junior state basketball team. And since then, she has known the game in and out.

In 1996, her bond with the game grew durable when she tied a knot with Indian’s seasoned basketball player Jayasankar Menon, who is the first Indian to be a part of the All Star Asian team. With an understanding husband, juggling between the house and the basketball court was never a problem for her. “My husband and my in-laws have always supported me in my work,” she informs. Her younger daughter Krishna, 13, takes it from her, as she is budding athlete while her elder daughter Archana, 19, is studying engineering in Chennai. 

Having been in the both the player’s and coach’s shoes, Prasanna knows exactly how to deal with the players when she coaches them.

“You need be one of them while you coach them. You need to be the player’s friend rather then constantly them what to do. There should be an open relationship between the players and the coach. The coach needs to make the player feel at ease only then they would succeed,” similes Prasanna, as she shares her mantra of coaching. Most of all she thinks, coaching the players is the best thing happened to her. “Coaching is a god’s gift. It’s an art. I feel privileged to have known these players and to coach them. It feels good to mould the talented players,” she adds.

In fact, when she was invited by the UBA to manage Bengaluru Beast in the second season – she sat down the team and asked if they fine being coached by a female. “We still live in that stereotype country where women are fighting for their rights. But the boys were happy when I took over the team,” she says.

Prasanna is of the notion that the scene of basketball in the country is changing. “More and more players are taking up this game professionally. There are some really talented players in our country,” she says. She hopes that in the coming years basketball as a sport will be a frontrunner and she readily accepts the challenge to channelize the players talent. 

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