Other Sports

Talent development should be coach-led and athlete-centric: Pandoo

Aveenash Pandoo.

Aveenash Pandoo.

Aveenash Pandoo, the new high-performance director of Indian weightlifting, has said that a change in mindset of coaches and an athlete-centric approach is essential for the development of the sport.

At a virtual press conference organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Friday, Pandoo — who has worked with South Africa and Indonesia national teams and is a member of the International Weightlifting Federation’s coaching and research committee — shared his vision of youth development.

“I will sit around a table with SAI and Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) and start looking at the roadmap where talent is coming from, why it is coming from that region and not from other regions. Talent development should be coach-led and athlete-centric. Coaches’ education is next on the roadmap,” said Pandoo, a Mauritian based in South Africa.

Stressing that good performance could come without doping, Pandoo said, “With a solid programme and a change in mindset of coaches (it is possible). A very good understanding of anatomy, physiology, nutrition and coach education and why doping is not good for athletes (is needed). We have to educate them on the side effects...We have to make them understand to train cleanly and smartly.

“Train the trainer smartly is the key. We are embarking on a new adventure with our coaches, we have to monitor them closely. We have to look how peaks of certain athletes are shooting up.”

Pandoo said an elite athlete like Olympics silver medallist Mirabai Chanu should pick and choose her competitions. “Mirabai has to be selective about her competitions because there are three years adding up to her age (for the Paris Olympics). Eko Yuli Irawan from Indonesia is a four-time Olympics medallist. He has proved that it can be done on a selective and intelligent way of preparing. I am sure (chief coach) Vijay Sharma will be able to put it together and Mirabai will deliver in Paris.”

Support system

In reference to Mirabai travelling to the USA to treat her shoulder and back issues before the Olympics, Pandoo said a good support system would be necessary for the athletes.

Pandoo, who would also oversee coaches and referees’ development programmes, said, “The landscape is changing and this is where we have to revisit the coaches’ mindset. We have been doing the same things and expecting better results. Train, review, monitor and evaluate should be the way forward,” he said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 3:16:35 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/talent-development-should-be-coach-led-and-athlete-centric-pandoo/article38305001.ece