| Rahul Dravid |
Bangalore: Given cricket’s popularity in the subcontinent, it’s not a surprise that there’s more than one coaching academy in almost each and every town.
But while aspiring cricketers, of all ages, queue up at such academies, former India captain Rahul Dravid has advised otherwise. According to Dravid, the youngsters should look up to mentors, not coaches. Only a mentor can make a world-class player, feels Dravid.
“Young players should be looking at mentors, not coaches… A lot of youngsters think that they will make themselves world-class players through coaching academies,” Dravid said on the sidelines of the Club Day, organised by the Karnataka State Cricket Association on the occasion of its Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Dravid said coaching is a task-oriented job while mentoring is relationship-oriented. “Coaches focus on concrete issues of the game, but mentors go beyond what coaches do… Their focus is on a lot of other matters, including building self-confidence and self-perception,” he explained.
While making his point, Dravid cited the example of the Ramakant Achrekar-Sachin Tendulkar combination. “Coach Ramakant Achrekar never stuffed technical aspects of the game in young Sachin’s mind… Instead he gave him opportunities to play games almost everyday and made him bat for five hours in the nets, which made him what he is today. In real sense, he was a mentor, not a coach, to the Mumbaikar,” Dravid said.
Dravid, respected as a gentleman on and off the field, has also recently said how the game can help someone become a better human being.
“One-and-a-half years after my retirement, I have realised that cricket has made me a better human... I learnt from successes and failures,” Dravid had said a couple of days ago.
Former fast bowler Javagal Srinath, who was also present at the function, echoed Dravid as he said that players should look at coaching only when it is required to correct technical faults.
“They should interact more with senior players as Rahul used to do with Gundappa Vishwanath and Syed Kirmani while travelling in a train to play Ranji matches,” Srinath said.
Like Dravid, Srinath too took help of an example to explain his point. Srinath talked about his numerous interactions with Dennis Lillee when the legendary Australian pacer was in charge of the MRF pace academy in Chennai.
“I had reached the MRF training camp a week ahead of Lillee’s arrival… I was ruled out by the then coach after he watched me bowl at the nets… I was said that I could not bowl,” Srinath said.
“But when Lilee came, he immediately found the problem and came up to me and asked whether I had bowled for the last six months? I didn’t and so he was absolutely right… He then said that nobody on this earth could bowl at right areas without playing for six months... That was enough for me to regain confidence. So that is the type of coaching that is required,” Srinath said.