N. Arul Selvi made a mark as a paddler in the International and National circuits. Now, as a coach she is determined to get the best out of the players
At her peak of her sporting career in the early and mid-1990s, International paddler N. Arul Selvi seldom wavered from the goals she set out to achieve. The 38-year-old, an Assistant Manager with Indian Bank, even now shows the same resolve and dedication to the coaching assignments recently entrusted to her by the Tamil Nadu Table Tennis Association (TNTTA) and Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).
The icing on the cake came when she went as the women's coach of the India team for the Polish Pro-Tour last month. “Watching the top players was a wonderful exposure,” she says. “The news (of her appointment as coach) came as a pleasant surprise. It was a proud moment.”
Confident of potential
The gap between top International players and Indians is huge, but Selvi feels India has the capacity to bridge it. “Our players' reception of service is not up to the mark. Consistency and mental toughness are other aspects we need to look into,” she observes. “There is no doubt that we have the potential to do well in International events.”
Being a player herself, Selvi knows what goes on in a player's mind and how can it be addressed. “I can understand their body language, their emotions and their behaviour during a match. It works to my advantage,” she says.
Being aware of the huge responsibilities, Selvi doesn't want to take her job lightly as it entails gaining a player's confidence and guiding him to perform to his best. “I need to be friendly. I should be part of their joys and sorrows. Moreover, I have to learn and observe. In the end, I should be able to get the best out of the players.”
Coaching is not something new to Selvi as she has been coaching children at YMCA (Royapettah) in the last couple of years. But from 2010, she has been entrusted with a lot of work both by the TNTTA and the TTFI. In April 2010, she was appointed one of the coaches for the France and German Open, then came the National sub-junior and cadet championships in Cuttack, followed by the Youth and Junior National championships in Ahmedabad and the National Games in Ranchi.
“What I have understood from my experience as a coach is that coaching is certainly not as easy as playing. It requires a lot more work,” she says.
Now that she is busy with coaching, will she play competitive TT? “Yes,” she asserts. “I will continue to play in State-level tournaments and perform to the best of my ability,” she says.
With the keenness to learn and adapt, possessing the energy and enthusiasm to be on a par with the players as far as updating knowledge is concerned, Selvi is bound to be successful in her “second innings”. “I want to be known as a good coach,” says the amiable former India No.1, who admires eight-time National champion Kamlesh Mehta's acumen as a coach.