Waking up the sleeping tiger of sport in India
Following the recent addition of the Sport Authority of India (SAI) to the ICCE family, Leeds Beckett’s International Advisor and ICCE Secretary General, Dr Ladislav Petrovic, and Senior Research Fellow, Sergio Lara-Bercial, joined ICCE President John Bales and Coach Developer Lead Penny Crisfield on the first ever official visit to India by members of the Council.
The purpose of the trip was to conduct a scoping study of the current coach education system in India and to host the first ever Coaching Conclave, bringing together all the coaching stakeholders of the subcontinent at the iconic National Institute of Sport in Patiala. A touchstone of Indian sporting glory, the NIS was founded in 1961 to support the development of elite athletes and to educate generations of highly successful Indian coaches.
Sergio commented: “The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has made a recent commitment to the development of a sporting nation and has challenged all in the sporting landscape to make India a sport superpower in the next decade. Against this background, SAI has identified a re-vamping of the coach education system as a top priority to enable such step change.
“Director General, Mr Injeti Srinivas, has thrown down the gauntlet too and challenged those involved in the Indian coaching system to transform it into a world-leading player within the next few years. SAI Director of Personnel and Coaching, Mr Sanjay Saraswat, and NIS Patiala Director, Mr S. S. Roy, will lead this process. ICCE and Leeds Beckett are the nominated experts tasked with ensuring this development process is guided by the latest international trends in coach development."
Ladislav said: “India, with a population of over one billion people and a federal structure composed of 29 independent states and seven union territories, has its fair share of challenges and potential barriers to the development of a successful sport and coach development system. Nonetheless, the existing structures and the total commitment of the government and its sport arm SAI lend themselves as a very stable springboard for significant and impactful development. The potential of India is enormous. Key to success, however, will be the development of a cohesive system where all institutions engaged in sport and coach development are synchronised to maximise the procurement and distribution of the resources available.
“For this reason, SAI invited representatives from the various states, national federations, universities, NIS Faculty, sport scientists, former and current national team coaches, the armed forces and even sporting legends like Rajundar Singh (Hockey Olympic Champion) and Pululla Gopichand (Winner of the All England Badminton Championship) to the Conclave to share their views on how the current system can be improved and to build a change coalition that will drive development forwards and upwards.”
The Leeds Beckett and ICCE experts gathered information from the various presentations, workshops and formal and informal meetings that took place through the five days of the conclave to build a picture of the current state of affairs and where potential improvement can be made. They also had an opportunity to share with the audience some contemporary views on sport development and coach education that have transformed other national systems in the past to facilitate debate and discussion and deepen the thinking of the Indian stakeholders.
The Conclave was closed by Director General, who reiterated SAI’s commitment to both the short- and long -term objectives of this endeavour. He also dared all in the audience to ‘dream big’ and to ‘not wait for others to make the change, but to be the change’. He also expressed a strong commitment to continue to work with ICCE and Leeds Beckett in the development of a National Plan for Sport Coaching and to become a very active member of the international coaching family under the Council’s egis.
Sergio added: “Our task, with the ICCE, in the coming weeks will be to develop a report of all the findings of the scoping exercise and to propose a set of recommendations and implementation guidance and timescales for SAI and NIS to consider and deliberate upon. We look forward to continue to support India in these very exciting times for the world of sport and coaching.”