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Parents calling time on young talent playing ball...but the NBA is here to change that

Lalit Nahata, vice- president of the Pune district basketball association talks about what it takes for basketball to take root in the country and how the NBA can bring about that change.

pune Updated: May 22, 2018 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Lalit Nahata, vice- president, Pune district basketball association believes that talent has to be scouted early to be able to compete at the international level. (HT PHOTO)

When one speaks about sports in the country, basketball is not usually the first name that springs to mind. Lalit Nahata, vice- president of the Pune district basketball association (PDBA), says, “In Pune, we see a lot of kids playing basketball from a young age, but that is only because they like the sport as a recreational activity. Their parents support them only up to a certain extent in order to ensure that they can cope with their education along with playing the sport. However, once they grow up and the academic burden begins to grow, they are forced to drop out. I wouldn’t blame the students or the parents as they have a valid point. It is a tough life ahead and the success rate is better if you pursue academics diligently and graduate.”

Nahata is of the opinion that if a child aged eight or nine is given a basketball in their hands and taught the basics, they have a better opportunity of performing well on the national and international stage than a late bloomer in their teenage years.

“Why India struggles to produce solid basketball talents in large numbers is solely due to the age they are spotted at. Ideally when a child is in Class three or Class four, they should be encouraged to pick up a sport and start training consistently week after week, without putting too much pressure on their body. They can also work on their endurance simultaneously and since they are impressionable at that age, we can teach them the right way to play.”

Nahata also believes that with the National Basketball Association (NBA is a men’s professional basketball league in North America) now looking at developing talent from the primary school level, we will see a better brand of players at the under-12, under-14 and under-16 levels, as they will have trained from a very young age and will learn certain skills that can only be taught by the best.

First Published: May 22, 2018 16:18 IST