For a country like India, which is obsessed with cricket, the job of a Basketball coach has to be a tough nut to crack. But, despite all the challenges, basketball as a sport has started picking up pace and is peaking interest among young school and college students. And the credit goes to dedicated and selfless basketball coaches. Any great player in any sport requires a dedicated coach ready to sweatitout on the basketball court to teach players the right tricks and techniques to master the game.
Today, we have with us one such selfless and dedicated coach, Mr Arjun Singh, who has devoted his life to coaching youngsters in the game of Basketball. Welcome Sir.
Question 1: When and how did you decide that you wanted to become a basketball coach?
Well, I was studying in class 9th or 10th and it was then that I started my basketball career as a player. I went to play at different levels and played in national championships in 1988. After that I realised that this relationship between a player and coach is very special. As a coach one gets a lot of respect and there a lot of responsibilities also on him. I was really influenced by my basketball coaches. I started playing in Varanasi and then also played at the Banaras Hindu University. At the university I watched my coach, learnt his coaching techniques and was mesmerized by his career and it was then that I decided to take up a career as a basketball coach.
Question 2: As far as sports are concerned, we are a nation obsessed with cricket. How do you inspire young students to take up basketball in school?
Cricket is a very big sport, I would say that most of kids here come from rich families. It's surely a very popular sport but there is a lot of money involved in this sport along with time and energy and not every child can go on to become Sachin Tendulkar. Keeping this in mind we motivate the students to explore sports other than that of cricket like basketball. You could go on to become a great player, even take it up as a career. It's a different field its very popular in schools and colleges especially in the metropolitan cities and prominent institutions today. We motivate students to play basketball as it helps in increasing their height and keeps them fit.
Question 3: What are the toughest challenges that a basketball coach faces in his / her career?
For a basketball coach the first thing is to get the student accustomed and prepared for the atmosphere of the game. We start when they are in the class 9th or 10th, it takes 3-4 years to get the player ready. After that we need to prepare him mentally, physically and emotionally for the championships. So, when we go to play at various championships sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. After losing you have to motivate them to take it as a challenge and perform better next time.
Question 4: What are the key roles and responsibilities of a basketball coach?
Coaches have a lot of responsibilities you are responsible not just for preparing the team but also to determine what techniques to include during the practice. After that there are different tactics also. We have to prepare them for different levels school, college, state and then preparing them for the national team is the biggest challenge for us. Along with this, coaches have to be well aware of the rules of the game.
Question 5: What are the job prospects for a basketball coach?
Basketball has become quite a popular game at both the school and college level and hence, there is a lot of requirement for basketball coaches. Even in armed forces it has become a mandatory sport, they are always in requirement for at least 2-3 coaches. Apart from that Sports Authority of India also keeps posting open position for basketball coaches.
Question 6: How much can one earn as a basketball coach?
For a fresher coach that is during the initial years when he is just starting his career he earns about Rs. 15,000 to 20,000. And as they gain experience after about 10 years they earn Rs 50,000 to 60,000.
Question 7: With the rising popularity of Basketball in India, would you consider career as a basketball coach a wise career decision for youngsters?
Yes, surely basketball has become such a popular game at school level, college level and even in universities there are a lot tournaments and championships, along with the national championships. A lot of people are taking interest in the basketball coaching. Sports Authority of India (SAI) recruits about 50 to 55 basketball coaches every year.
Question 8: Any tips for future basketball stars of the country?
Basketball players first of all need to consistently work hard and secondly they need to maintain their fitness levels. Because if they don't maintain their fitness they won't be able to represent their team for a long time.
Basketball is an upcoming sport which has captured the interest of youngsters all over the country. With the growing popularity of the sport, the need for quality basketball coaches who can help train youngsters has also risen, making career as a basketball coach a very lucrative option for youngsters.
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