Good response and noble intentions augur well for squash in India
Creating more opportunities
For a change it was not the players who were in focus at the Indian Squash Academy the other day as another first was set for the sport of squash in India. The hallowed premises welcomed the first WSF certified coaching course aimed at standardizing coaching techniques the world over. Held under the auspices of the Squash Rackets Federation of India, this week-long programme which included refresher courses for Tutors and coaches received a good response.
The WSF Director of coaching Major S. Maniam, who is also the Consultant Coach of SRFI, was the man in charge and from the feedback seen at the venue and in social media, it was clear that the event came as an eye-opener for many. Nothing symbolized the moments at the centre court better than the reaction of Ashish Banerjee from Jharkand. “I had never known that the various actions on the court with the racket can be so lucidly explained. I had learnt the game by watching some army men play and their magnanimity in giving me opportunities,” he said quite candidly on why he thought the Chennai trip was god-send.
Ashish said his life’s course has virtually been driven by squash. The initiation to squash opened more doors of opportunity, that of playing in the Ranchi club and then the ultimate surprise of being asked by parents of young children if I could help in teaching the young ones the rudiments of the sport.
“I remember telling some disbelieving people that the sport was not about just knocking the ball on the wall but of skills that were demanding on the body,” he said of how he had a small hand in giving the sport a fillip in his home town. Ashish is a great believer that squash is going to take him ahead in his career and this WSF course could be his first big step in that direction.
Bubbling with enthusiasm at the ISA was Aparajitha Balamurukan, an active player and a post graduate student of Management. More than anything else, Aparajitha is the beneficiary of the structured training at the ISA and the results had shown in her exploits in various tournaments and championship with laurels coming her way.
Why then should she think of coaching when there is still much left in her as a player?
“ Nothing, I am keen to know more on the sport. Nothing like learning the techniques,” she said, clear in her mind that coaching could be one option for the future.
Former National Champions share their insights
Aparajitha is not the only prominent player to be part of the course. There were in fact seven former national champions Manish Chotrani, Bhuveneshwari Kumari, Dalip Tripthi, Rohit Thawani, Surbhi Misra, Deepak Mishra and Anaka Alankamony in Chennai, a few for ‘refresher’ and the others for ‘Level 1’ certificate. As Manish, twice national champion at the turn of the millennium put it, “what ever is happening to squash in India today is a boon for the young talents. Such facilities and training methods never around then,” he said, saying “my son knows more about the sport’s nuances than me and he has also played more matches already than what I had in my whole career.”
Manish has a noble plan in mind while deciding to go through with the course. “I want to provide a helping hand to talents in the lower strata of society, children who are unable to find facilities and also do not have access to good coaching,” he said while revealing his idea to get some large-hearted people in Mumbai involved in getting up facilities in areas open to all.
Similar has been the views of Aravind and Raja from Hyderabad as also Surbi Misra from Jaipur. As Maj Maniam said if five coaches take up work seriously at various centres in the country then on an average 200 young talents can come up on right lines.
“Effectively then the sport’s base will widen and there can be nothing better happening,” he said. Something the national coach Cyrus Poncha also agrees. “Ultimately it is good augury for squash in India,” he said.