Sunday, July 26, 2009

Much Ado Abt SPORTS

Hey, I hear this all the time, "I am a good swimmer, golfer, shooter etc etc, I want to do better, how should I go about it, I dont have any idea/ there is no help around". The story of our life in India.

I wish there were answers for all of us struggling to make something out of ourselves in sports. Why should academics be the only field where the young can achieve something. Why cannot sports become a part of our lives or for some, why cant it become a lifestyle, a profession. Arts, painting, craftsmanship, acting, singing are all professions that people have opportunities in, building a career in sports is more difficult and with fewer examples around.

I guess it needs a change in attitude towards sports, we are a long way from playing sports for recreation. And that puts us away from having sports clubs etc which we could support and thus encourage talents in our own neighborhoods. Even Inter-school tournaments, I am not sure if they carry with them the required support from the parents/school authorities. But if you have the talent and you want to do well despite the limitations around you; GO TEACH YOUR SELF.

Self teach yourself, yeah.

I know its not Simple as in Simple but then when you have 'fire in the belly' and no one to show you the path, dont let that turn into frustration. Start educating yourself about that subject, its going to take a longer time to accomplish results but the fire will keep you going and at least you are doing what you love. Educate yourself from the books (there are enough on every subject) or from being in the company of those who are achievers in that field or hear their experiences. Start absorbing. Replicate success stories, it works.

This can work for everyone and in any field. Typically I hear of the problem of the lack of coaches in sports. You can make the best of the 'bad' situation by becoming your own coach. Its possible. I know of succesful sportsmen who have done it at some point of time or the other. I have done it in the initial period of my life and won medals. 

Its also important to know how to get help. Understand your situation, find out who can help or who can get help, communicate the problem precisely to get the correct solution. People who can help are generally short on time so be precise in your communication. Internet is a great resource for information. Bottom line- IF YOU REALLY WANT TO DO IT YOU CAN DO IT.

I have also seen plenty of guys take to drinking, smoking. Thats the elevator that goes down. If your friends do it, fine but if they ask you to do it- SAY NO. You don't need the support of a crutch (smoking/drinking) to appear cool, its your attitude(your knowledge, communication skills, your principles/values)  that counts.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bangalore Times

Congratulations to the Indian Shooting Team competing in the South Asian Federation (SAF) Shooting Championships at Bangladesh. It’s literally a clean sweep of the Gold Medals. In the Indian Sub Continent, Indians are far too strong a competition for countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. How ever it’s a good competition to taste victory and then to strive to achieve similar victories in the next higher level of competition. Though one need not follow this pattern; for example, my very first International medal came in the form of Gold after 4 years of very hard struggle and that too in the big league competition like the Commonwealth Games Manchester in 2002.

To take you to an altogether different topic, I was in Bangalore for a day having been invited by a leading corporate company to be part of their in house corporate training/ competition as a judge. It was great fun and very educative for all of us. Apart from the content, it was very similar to some of the war gaming exercises that we do in the Army. Off course, instead of having enemy locations to capture, they had marketing goals to be achieved. Instead of minefields and obstacles laid out by the enemy they had financial and other market related obstacles to be cleared. And here I was to cross question them on their subjects! I have never been more attentive under closed doors.

On numerous occasions I have realized that high performance philosophies that we have applied in the Army, either while training or in active service or mental solutions we have had up our sleeves during high stress levels in competitive sport can all be applied to the corporate world to solve their problems. The more one thinks about it, the more parallels can be found. For example, the biggest issue as of now that the corporate world is facing is that of a financial downturn for the first time in many years. So in layman terms, it’s a difficult time to perform and show results. Ask a top level sportsman, how many times would he have faced such a situation? At the mental level the answers are the same. Once the mind is taken care of, the rest falls into place. Easier said then done. But then when had achieving excellence been easy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lets Communalise India

Its been a long while since i had the pleasure of talking with you. I was on an extended sabbatical, a gap year (if I may say). To tell you the truth, this break that i had has been...well...very different experience for me. I was like a machine in the last 9 years, observing only what was good for me, cutting off everything that was not helping me move further towards my aim/goal.....simply put, a programmed machine. It surely had its pleasures, m not complaining at all, just talking.

The last couple of months alowed me to experience life from a different perspective and the pleasures thereof. In my interaction with a lot of you it was very nice to know that there were a quite a few people following my blog. Well its courtesy all of you that i have started writting again ( I have to stick to a few topics as I dont enjoy the freedom of speech unlike most of you; upon joining the Army we have to surrender this civil liberty).

In this blog, let me communalise India.

I have to admit, sportsmen/sportswomen are an altogether different community. You could belong to the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Bengali, Punjabi or any other community or you could belong to the sports community (only entitled for sportspersons, not officials). What a pleasure it is to talk to people who have been sportsmen/sportswomen in their life. To hear about their difficulties or the sheer uninterupted pleasure of playing back then without the weight of studies/exams. All the "badmashi" that they did together (this community seems to be having all the fun). Listening to how, while representing India as latest as 1992 Olympic Games at Barcelona, one of the federation was receiving fax all the way from the Olympic Games through a paan shop, needless to say, the federation was housed in a shop too. Some things dont change much. Talking to people, its interesting to hear of their ability or the inability to play now and fresh vows to start again no matter what. Like me, I am sure a vast majority of sportsmen, find themselves amidst sports community (people who have been sportspersons in their lives) at common places be it at airports, parties, parks, hotels lobbies etc. Believe you me, there is no community like this community, there still is time, join this community: it has the power to change your life and the people around you.