One more time Pullela Gopichand is in news!
After Sakshi Malik bringing the 1st medal for India in Rio 2016 in wrestling, P V Sindhu created a history of being the 1st Indian women to win silver medal in badminton by defeating the world champion Carolina Marin of Spain.
While we are all celebrating the victories in Rio 2016 by great India women, I thought of taking sometime in writing about some highly respectful qualities of Pullela Gopichand as a coach and mentor. These qualities not only relate to a badminton or sports coach; but are equally integral behavior of great leaders around orbits.
A great disciplinarian!
This is what Gopichand says on discipline: “For an athlete, discipline is important. If you are an athlete who wants to perform at the highest level, discipline is the key and sooner or later, you have to start enjoying the discipline.”
And just as an attempt to adhere to discipline during Sindhu’s preparations for Rio 2016, he had not allowed her to operate phone for 3 months and also stopped her most favorite sweet yogurt and ice cream! As per Sindhu’s father, she was not allowed to talk with people on phone! She used to talk with her parents only with the permission of her coach and that too for 10 minutes only in his presence!!
Pullela Gopichand has won several championships during his career as a player. Some of them are: National badmintonship title in 1996 and continued winning 5 times in row till 2000, Gold at SAARC badminton tournament, two gold and one silver at Indian national games at Imphal in 1997, silver and bronze medals in 1998 commonwealth games, victories at Toulouze open championship in France and the Scottish open championship in Scotland, Asian satellite tournament at Hyderabad, All England Open Badminton Championship in 2001, won over world number one Peter Gade in the semi-finals before defeating Chen Hong of China to lift the trophy.
After such a stunning career as a badminton player, he didn’t stop. He started Gopichand Badminton Academy with another determination, with another dream to chase – he still wanted to create more winners for this country!
He has been the coach of Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu who have honored all of us Indians by winning bronze and silver medals respectively in Olympics and many more badminton players continuing emerging and shining under Gopichand’s mentorship.
Determination to do different things!
India – the country of over 330 million God and Goddess, Cricket is respected, funded, scoped, rewarded, awarded, enjoyed and played as ‘God of Games’! And the biased attitude towards Cricket has suppressed dreams of players seeing dreams to play another different game like badminton, wrestling, archery, gymnastic and many more hundreds like these! But players like Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand have shown strong determination, strategical approach and desires to think different, play different and be the one what they wanted to! Such attitude and efforts have given recognition and respect to India at world level!
Hard work – So simple to speak out but very difficult to practice!
Yes, it’s very obvious that hard work and persistent efforts are basic thumb rule for chasing your goal. Gopichand gets up at 2 AM every day, present at the court of Gopichand Badminton Academy at 4:15 AM before everybody and stays there till the last student returns in the evening! One of his student has mentioned that sir gives same level of attention to all 50 trainee students in his academy.
Gopichand chose to be an unseen hero! Away from news, fame and crowd. Just one mantra – work hard to chase his dream – the dream of fulfilling his trainees’ dreams!
A great strategist!
A Game is not only about playing the best. A game is about playing the best with right strategical shot at the right time! One cannot win if he only plays the best and doesn’t understand strategy.
And this is what Gopichand believes on strategy: “It is players job ONLY to play and NOT to strategise. There is The Coach to strategise.” This statement itself clarifies importance of player-coach synchronisation and coach’s responsibility!
There is no Arjun without Dronacharya!
Have to Sacrifice family time!
Real success doesn’t come without cost! In one of the interviews he mentioned that giving time at the home is something he has not been able to manage but wife Lakshmi has not complained on this. Yes, one need to have love for family and unsaid support from loved ones to succeed!