Chief National badminton coach Pullela Gopi Chand said it is important to bring back former champions into coaching programme for developing sports in the country.
Gopi cautioned against the over-dependence on foreign coaches and said it was imperative to have a right mix of foreigners and Indians in the system.
He was speaking at the virtual inauguration of High Performance Coach Education Programme, launched by SAI and National Centre for Sports Coaching here on Thursday.
“I think foreign coaches are very important for our development. But it is also important for us to have a right mix of foreign and Indian coaches to reach the next level. However, in events where we don’t have expertise, it is good to have foreign support in the beginning.
“But if we are having foreign coaches continuously then we are not doing justice to our system. It is important that we learn from foreign coaches and gradually wean away from them,” he said.
“Moreover, I think probably an Indian coach wants us to win more than a foreign coach, who cares more about the extension of his contract. For sports where we have consistently done well, the need is to bring back former champions into the coaching programme.
“SAI has done some great work and in the next couple of months, we will have a former set of players joining the coaching programme. It will help us bring in majority of Indian coaches into the system.”
Gopi said as a country, India was slowly evolving in sports and that it was important to devise our own system for sports development.
“We face far more challenges than smaller nations. We have to take into consideration our geography as the places are far from each other, people are different, timings are different and we have people with different mindset.”
Gopi felt it is important for sports to follow and emulate successful models like education where people are driven and where the system is more transparent.
He called for more coordination between government, associations, schools and academies for parents to believe and feel confident that the system will take care of their wards if they have talent.
He stressed on the need to encourage coaches at the grassroots level to “hand over” the wards to be trained at the next level.
“The transfer of talent is important and there is a tendency of the coaches at grassroots level to hold on to players far longer than they are capable of. We must look at a system where coaches are encouraged to pass on players to the next level.”