Amid curfew in Chandigarh, veteran badminton coach turns to online training
In early March, badminton coach Surinder Mahajan was busy preparing schedule for his 250 odd trainees at the Sector 38 sports complex. But little did he know that the coronavirus threat will force him to abandon all his plans and become innovative in helping his wards stay in touch, fit and ready for the game once the lockdown got over.
Social messaging apps are coming in handy as the coach, with 35 years of experience, is trying to keep his top and intermediate groups ready and as fit as possible within the confines of their homes. The beginners group were also given specific tasks and exercises to stay in touch with the game.
“We went into lockdown on March 22. And that very day, I decided to make full use of the WhatsApp group we have to keep everyone updated about training schedule on routinely basis before lockdown,” Mahajan said.
All the players, who are in tournament group consisting of top and intermediate players, were given specific schedules to follow and update their task completion on the WhatsApp group.
“We have 50-60 players in this group and they have been told to do sets of squats, burpees and do jogging at one place. Additionally, they have been told to do wall practice hitting an old shuttle on the wall. Standing agility is something which is very important in this game and the players have been told to keep working on that too. Alternate days are devoted to strength training also,” the coach explained.
Mahajan was named manager of the Indian junior team that participated in the Junior Asian Badminton Championship held in Suzhou, China, in July last year. The 65-year-old coach is also general secretary of the Chandigarh Badminton Association and has served in various capacities with Indian teams in Asian, Commonwealth, World Games and Championships.
“They have been asked to give feedback and the winner or the player who does best will be awarded too at the end of his lockdown. The prize is just for the motivation. I receive 40-50 messages per day with players following schedule which they show by sending images and videos. Sunday is off day for them,” Mahajan added.
Mahajan said the idea behind this is to not only keep the players engaged in the times of lockdown but also keep them fit enough so that when they are back on court they don’t have to start from scratch.
“The idea is to keep them ready and fit so that the comeback is easy. See, if a player follows this routine then I am sure it’s possible that the adoption stage wherein they gain peak fitness level can be done in 10-15 days. Once that is done, the game can also improve. The game is bound to suffer and players may need 1-2 months to get back to their peak forms and it might take longer in some cases. At least with fitness they can improve faster,” Mahajan added.
Additionally the trainees have also been told to do yoga and meditation. Mahajan’a biggest fear is that in case the lockdown extends to longer periods some of the players might be pushed back by a year.
“It will be difficult to make a comeback then,” added the coach, who himself follows a strict regimen at home to stay fit.
“Once the lockdown gets over, players will need at least 1 to 2 months before they can participate in tournaments. It’s not going to be easy to make a comeback and normal sport to resume. Players will need weeks of practice before they take part in an event. Let’s hope we are able to fight this off successfully and India gets back to normal after that,” Mahajan said.