Koteswara Rao is known for his relentless search for champions

Mention volleyball in Vijayawada and many vignettes crisscross the mind, and the most significant is that of former Indian Railways spiker and well-known coach T. Koteswara Rao, who has won the hearts of many with his unswerving commitment to the game.

Affectionately called Koti by his friends, the veteran is known for his relentless search for champions and he uses the annual summer camp as a mission to search and hone their skills for glory.

This pursuit is not something new to him for he made use of several camps earlier by identifying champion spikers like Arjuna awardee P.V. Ramana (father of badminton star P.V. Sindhu), Guthikonda Pradeep and Sk. Naima who went on to play for India from Vijayawada.

“I have around 25 boys and 15 girls coming regularly to learn the basics at the IGMC. If they show the commitment and dedication, I am sure they can make a mark. I am also counselling their parents to let their children continue even after the summer is over. All they need to do is to play for two years and they will see the results for themselves,” he pointed out.

Koteswara Rao is teaching the kids the rudiments such as holding and handling of the ball and later teaching them how to serve from one end to the other. Many kids with their not-so-strong hands failed to clear even their own side of the court but Koti, instead of chiding them encouraged them to apply more power.

Koti said that the players would be taught six basic skills - serve, pass, set, attack, block and dig.

Each of these skills comprises a number of specific techniques that have been introduced over the years and are now considered standard practice in high-level volleyball.

“We need to apply specialisation basing on the physical structure of the player. If the player is blessed with good height he or she can be made a good spiker or a blocker. Short players can be good libero (defence player),” he added.

“It is unfortunate that Koti is not yet conferred with coveted Dronacharya award. After all, he produced so many national and international players ,” said Krishna District Olympic Association secretary K.P. Rao.

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