In one of my posts on the Lodha Commission recommendations to the BCCI, a reference was made to Go Sports Foundation’s handbook for young Indian athletes and how a similar publication could be off immense help to aspiring cricketers.
Go Sports Foundation is a non-profit trust established in September 2008.
Their mission is to empower India’s future Olympians.
Their board of advisors consists of Abhinav Bindra, Rahul Dravid and Pullela Gopichand.
Their programmes are broken up into two kinds:
The Athletes Handbook 2013: FAQs for the Young Indian Athlete is co-authored by some of the top names connected to Indian sport.
Bhishmaraj Purushottam Bam, a sports psychologist, a former Inspector General of police and qualified coach in pistol and rifle shooting answers questions pertaining to Mental Conditioning.
Sharda Ugra, a sportswriter and currently with ESPN Cricinfo, advises the young athlete how to interact with the media.
Deckline Leitao, a Sports Performance Specialist, replies to question on Fitness Training.
Dr. Korulamani Santosh Jacob, an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in arthroscopy and sports medicine and once team doctor to the Indian men’s hockey side, is all about Sports Medicine.
Nandan Kamath, a boutique sports and intellectual property lawyer and a graduate of Harvard Law School, the University of Oxford (on a Rhodes scholarship) and
the National Law School of India talks about legal and commercial issues. He’s also a former junior cricketer and Managing Trustee of the Go Sports Foundation.
Finally, Ryan Fernando, a certified Performance Nutrition Expert, dwells on Sports Nutrition in the final section.
The booklet’s foreword states:
“Professional help is not always easily accessible to the community of aspiring athletes. This Handbook of FAQs is an attempt to start bridging that gap.”
Some gems from this guide are as follows:
Bhishmaraj Purushottam Bam:
“Dwelling on past mistakes builds a wrong response and the errors creep into your system. This damages your confidence. Focusing on the result of the match makes it difficult for you to handle the challenges at hand well.”
“You need not waste unnecessary efforts in staying focused before the competition. It is your focus during the competition that matters. The pressure that builds up before the match, causing butterflies in your stomach, is actually a good thing as it indicates your keen interest to perform well. Do not link it with failure. Tell yourself that you are going to do very well since you are getting the jitters. Not feeling the pressure before a match is a bad sign, as it could mean that you are either bored with your game or are underestimating your opponents.”
“…form is very elusive and fickle. It can come in one match and disappear in the other. Learn to take every match very seriously. As the saying goes, ‘The better player does not win; the player who plays better wins’. It is your responsibility to play better.”
“If you have lost to a particular player a number of times previously, that is all the more reason for you to play better than him/her and win. Do not take others’ (or even your own) game for granted. Just keep trying to win the point being played and keep your focus on the ball or the shuttle. Look for a chance to meet that player again and again for playing him/her is a test of your mental toughness. Visualise your correct movements and not the mistakes made in the previous matches.”
“Do not be afraid of negative thoughts or doubts. They can cause damage to you only if you focus on them. Keep some positive thoughts ready for introduction and focus on them. If these thoughts are coming from your own positive experience they help a lot. Write a diary of excellence and enter in it only your positive experiences. This will help you build up a positive self-talk for occasions when the negative thoughts attack you.”
“What the outside world particularly also likes, which you must not forget, is humility. Talking down someone or something else may sound ‘confident’ but as you hope you will have a long career, remember there will come a time when someone may talk your hard work down in the same tone and you will not like it. You don’t need to be awed by your competitors but neither must you look down on them. Be respectful. At least in the media!”
“The first step to gauging trust is to see if the journalist passes the OTR (Off the Record) test: If in the course of a conversation you let slip a comment that you do not want quoted with your name in it, and say, ‘This is off the record.’ If the journalist uses it in their article quoting you and offers an apology like, ‘I was forced to’, ‘my boss demanded it’, or, ‘it was inserted by someone else’, it is necessary to be a little wary in the course of future conversations with them.”
“How do I avoid answering a question that I am not comfortable answering?
Ans: Say exactly – and always with a smile – any of the following:
’That’s not something I want to talk about.’ ‘That’s something I would rather not speak about.’
’I have no comment to make about that.’
’I have nothing to offer on that subject, thanks.’
If they ask the same question over and over again, you should say, ‘I’ve already
indicated that this is something I am not going to be talking about, so let’s move on.’”
“Ideally the media should pursue you, not the other way around and that happens through performance.”
“One should never go completely off fitness training even in the off season. It is always good to maintain 50% fitness during this period as it will help you get back in shape more quickly when the competitive season starts.”
“Remember the saying – Anybody can train when he/she feels like doing it, but a champion trains even when he/she doesn’t feel like doing it!”
Dr. Santosh Jacob:
“The primary role of the physiotherapist is to prevent injuries, and he/she should be able to identify problems in posture/technique and remedy them before a serious injury is sustained. When an athlete is injured, the physiotherapist plays a key role in aiding rehabilitation, helping the athlete regain peak fitness and return to the competitive arena at the earliest; and also prevent re-injury.”
“P.R.I.C.E.S. is the acronym for best practice in first aid that is internationally accepted. It stands for:
Splinting (to provide an external support to an injured portion of the body usually by the use of a brace or a well wrapped bandage strapping. The aim is to immobilize, to reduce pain caused by movement or muscle contraction).”
“A healthy athlete should be able to recover completely from donating blood in eight weeks, but he/she may lose some of the ability to train for the first few days.
Following a donation of one pint, blood volume is reduced by about ten percent and returns to normal in 48 hours. For two days after donating, you should drink lots of fluids and probably exercise at a reduced intensity or not at all. There is a definite reduction in peak (maximal) performance but it does not appear to affect training (submaximal) performance after 48 hours. So, the take home message is: if you are an endurance athlete or are about to enter an elite competition, do not donate blood. However, if it is off-season or an event is not lined up for roughly 3 months, it should be perfectly safe to do your social duty.”
“Early on in your career, you will be tempted to take every commercial offer that you receive. This approach may not always be in your long term commercial interest. At the beginning of a career, it is best to focus on a small number of high quality sponsorships and endorsements. These do not come knocking often and one must often wait with some patience for them. The ability to refuse the wrong relationships early on increases your long term brand value and makes you far more attractive once you are an established international athlete.”
“…contracts are not “take it or leave it”. A contract presented to you by someone else will be drafted in a manner most favourable to that person and the first draft offered to you should act as a starting point and not the last and final offer. There is (almost) always room to negotiate the terms and conditions of such a contract and it is very important that you make sure all of your interests are protected and documented in the contract. It is customary to provide your comments and feedback on a contract and to attempt to have the contract reflect the positions you want through a negotiation process. A failure to negotiate means that you are likely to leave a lot on the table and lose out value that you might have otherwise been offered were you just willing to ask. An athlete who is aware of his/her rights and is willing to stand up for his/her own interests is always likely to be taken more seriously and, in the long run, will always get a better deal.”
“If the duration of the activity for an individual athlete is fairly continuous for 1 hour or longer, a sports drink is the better replacement fluid. However, if the activity lasts less than 1 hour, water is the best option. In either case, an athlete should have about 6-8 ounces of fluid replacement every 30 minutes during strenuous, continuous activity.”
“Unless a particular athlete has an allergy to milk or is lactose intolerant, there is no reason to avoid 1% or skim milk. These are an excellent source of both carbohydrate and protein with very little or no fat. Having 250 ml of skim or 1% milk or yogurt up to 2 hours before a competitive event can even help boost blood sugar (forms of carbohydrate) for the early minutes of the competition. The protein will kick in with additional fuel a little later.”