Sports brings holistic development: Interview with Nadal Tennis School coach Xisco Mercado Pons
This year, the 17th of October marks the fifth anniversary of the Nadal Educational and Tennis School (NETS). Its newly appointed coach, Xisco Mercado Pons, has joined NETS with a bagful of new ideas.
Normally, we associate sport in India with entertainment but the sports programme at Rural Development Trust (RDT), in collaboration with the Rafa Nadal Foundation, presents an entirely different picture – one of using sport for the development of youth.
On this special occasion, we asked coach Xisco a series of questions which he answered with a sporting spirit.
Can you tell us your association with Nadal Education and Tennis School?
I started as a volunteer last year for a month where my responsibility was to help the coaches maintain a healthy ratio between boys and girls. Also, I assisted in providing fitness and theoretical sessions to the children. This was what inspired me to come back and rejoin the school, this time as a full time employee, and work towards the development of the program.
My main aim now is to provide a holistic development to the kids, for which we have started giving them training on computer skills and also regular English classes by our dedicated teachers. On parallel terms, we will be teaching and coaching them tennis, for which we have all the basic facilities from coaches to grounds to playing kits. Hopefully, the coaching and the classes will help them prepare for formative competition.
Your thoughts on the facilities and support being provided by NETS to these young kids.
Through NETS, the children from nearby under-privileged communities get to engage in tennis classes along with educational and nutritional aspect attached to it. With regards to tennis coaching, they are provided with all sports materials from t-shirts to pants, socks, caps, tennis rackets and balls as well as state of the art facilities.
The same is provided to the trainers. On the educational aspect, they are given training on computer skills and English by our teachers. They also are facilitated with story books, CD’s, paint books and computer games for their refreshments.
How do you see Tennis developing the life of these kids?
Tennis is basically an individual sport, but through NETS, we are using tennis to implement various team building activities to promote teamwork and also to promote gender equality as most of the children are from marginalized backgrounds of Anantapur. Apart from that, this training gives the players the power to make real time decisions on the court. Also, it gives them a comparison with real life, understanding the rules and making sacrifices in order to achieve your ultimate goal which is to become independent.
What are your plans for next year?
Through NETS, we would like to promote education and a healthy lifestyle among these under-privileged communities. We want to teach them how to work as a team, with the same target so that they become a better person in life. But, most importantly we want to make Anna and Moncho Ferrer’s dream of holistic development through sports come true.