The Programme is likely to sensitise parents on the sports potential (or otherwise) in their children so that the talent can be appropriately harnessed early on in the 'sports journey'
Cricket has always been a craze in India. In the last two decades, it has been even more so. Every Parent has wanted his /her son to be a Sachin (that wish moved on to a 'Dhoni' in the 2nd half of the last decade and more recently to wanting to be a 'Kohli' - the huge youthful crowd this week at the India A match at Chepauk was an indication of that).
It is not an uncommon sight at any coaching academy here in Madras to see a parent (especially a mother) remark that his (her) son had just played a beautiful shot that reminder her of Sachin. It is likely that she may never have seen Sachin play and definitely may not know the 'technical aspects' of Sachin's batting. And yet, it has become a fad to say that they want their son to become a 'Sachin'.
Do the parents know what it takes to become a successful cricketer. What are the technical and non technical aspects that will assist in this long journey?
For a long time, coaches have done nothing about this (in fact, it is very likely that they would be laughing inside about such remarks from largely (cricket) ignorant parents) for it has suited them just right. This has contributed significantly to the 'Volumes' in coaching academies in Madras.
Was there an approach to try and test out if the youngster (be it a U13 lad or a U15 cricketer) really had the talent to move into the next grade, after learning the basics. It did not seem so till now, at least with the academies here in Madras.
Launch of TIP
S. Vasudevan, the former Ranji Trophy Winning Captain, is now looking to tackle this problem (and provide a seemingly probable solution) with the launch of a Talent Identification Programme (TIP). This programme will seek to identify the talent in youngsters through a ‘specific methodology’ that will educate the parents on the strengths and weaknesses of the player and the potential to go up the ladder.
The TIP is likely to sensitise parents to the fact that their son may not necessarily be suited to cricket, based on the findings.
Currently, one finds that tens of thousands of youngsters take up cricket at the age of 7 or 8 and spend close to a decade at various academies only to then find that they have no potential to go even into league cricket, let alone into much higher levels.
Often coaching academies are seen negotiating with league teams to get their wards in. There have been several occasions in the last few years when the academies have pitched in with TNCA league clubs for just a place in the 30 member squad that they can then showcase to the parents as having got the kid into a TNCA league team ( sometimes it almost seemed like the Kid had got into the Indian Team!!! such is the pitching exercise).
And in many cases the kids have quit cricket once into class XI but by then they have spent enormous amount of cricket time batting ‘8 minutes’ in the nets and/or bowling 2 sets twice or thrice a week. And of course these days going to grounds on the outskirts of the city to play 20 or 30 over matches!!!
The TIP could help parents with the much needed ‘cricket’ education on the likely progress of their children and on any course corrections very early on into their cricketing journey. And in some cases, it could also mean moving away from a particular sport into another in which the kid is likely to be more suited based on the findings..
While the TIP is likely to be initially targeted at cricketers in the age group of 7 to 17, it could very quickly/simultaneously be made available for all sportsmen including individual sports such as Shuttle Badminton and Tennis.
He is also planning to launch a full-fledged Video Analysis Programme for sports people. While the concept may not be new, its use has been quite minimal in the below 17 age group in cricket. In fact, even at first division or TN Ranji level, it has not been used that extensively in the way it could have been to sort out technical deficiencies.
PS: The name was added later to the story.