A video is what it took for Anuj Chilakamarri, 15, to make the transition from a gentle medium pacer to a speedier fast bowler.
Not an inspirational one of a fire-breathing fast bowler on the international cricket circuit, but one of himself.
Chilakamarri, a Class 10 student at Podar International School, is among several city students who isn’t just playing a sport but is actively involved in deconstructing his performance — reflecting on skill, technique and hand-eye coordination. Aiding this analysis is technology, which has been widely harnessed at the national and international level to examine and improve player performances, and has now made inroads at the school level as well.
“When you bowl, you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Chilakamarri. “After you watch yourself, you can see your mistakes and get your stance right.” His school has tied up with Sports Education Development India Limited (SEDIL), which offers specialised programmes that integrate technology to build faster, better, stronger youth athletes. SEDIL, which has a special focus on cricket, has tied-up with Cricket Australia and has worked with 12 city schools in the past three years.
“Technology allows for greater depth of coaching,” said Martin Gleeson, chief executive officer of SEDIL. “There are certain things you can’t see with the naked eye. This helps customise training and cater to individual needs.”
For most schools, tie-ups with companies are more feasible than investing in their own technology for sports education. “We believe in creating champions and champion teams and in that pursuit, have tied up with a sports agency,” said Vikas Phadnis, trustee and director, EuroKids International. The school worked with SEDIL.
Like SEDIL, sports curriculum development company Kids Out of Home (KOOH) also ties up with schools in the city to work with their athletes. KOOH uses performance analysis tools that help slow down action to one-tenth of a second on video, with an expert to break down the movements.
At the individual level too, school coaches are using cameras and video analysis to help skill development for students.
At Ajmera Global School in Borivli and Billabong High International School in Santacruz, children watch themselves in action, not just with an eye on competitions but also for self-improvement. “I never thought I could swim,” said Pratvi Shah, 9, a student of Ajmera Global School. “But then I saw videos of myself swimming and that made me confident.”