Coaching was always on my mind, says ex-India defender Vickram Kanth
While former Indian defender Vickram Kanth’s first love is to play hockey which he continues to actively pursue at the domestic level, he enjoys doubling up as a mentor when he sees a youngster repeat the same mistakes he and his compatriots would make in their formative years.
“As an Ex-SAI trainee, whenever I find an opportunity to guide young players I do it. I enjoy playing mentor, correcting young players and teach them the right technique we learnt in the due course of our international career.
“The intention is to ensure these youngsters don’t repeat the same mistakes we did which was corrected only when we moved into the national program,” opines Kanth, who played for India as defender from 2007 to 2014.
This passion of sharing knowledge in the sport he excelled made him ponder about a stint in coaching but it was not until the Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway was launched in March last year that he gave it a serious thought.
“Coaching was always on my mind, even after my international career ended, I enjoyed spending time with young players. But when Hockey India launched the program, I felt it was something I wanted to do. As the name (Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway) suggests, it provided me a pathway into getting involved in the coaching setup, go through the right process and understand the nuances of coaching. It was new to me and I enjoyed it,” expressed the Bengaluru-lad who has completed Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway Level Basic, Level 1 and Level 2. He has also completed the FIH Level 1 & 2 certification.
Like Kanth, over a dozen former international hockey players and more than 650 coaches from across India have enrolled in the program and have benefited from it. The program aims to provide a simplified education structure to help in developing coaches from the grassroots level into world-class coaches.
“When I attended Level Basic and Level 1, I understood coaching is completely different. We were taught to think like coaches rather than a player especially when you are teaching/coaching a team. That was the first step for me. How to identify a player was another aspect that intrigued me while I pursued this basic level,” recounted Kanth, who made his senior debut in 2007 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup where India won the bronze medal. He had previously been part of the junior India team that played the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam and he was also part of the Junior Asia Cup team that travelled to Pakistan in 2004.
“Moving on to Hockey India Level 2 Coaching Course, the course was more technical. It involved the intricacies of physical fitness, video analyses and Coaching a young team like U-12, U-14 while the FIH Level 1 & 2 covered deeper sessions of fitness, game analyses, injury prevention, rehab and so on and mainly focused on Coaching U-21 age group and above. With Hockey India making these FIH courses accessible for us in India is a big opportunity,” he added.
Having successfully completed FIH Level 1 & Level 2, Kanth wants to put the lessons he learnt to test by coaching a junior state team. “To begin with, I am looking forward to coaching the junior state team for the nationals. I still enjoy playing competitive hockey and representing Indian Oil Corporation Ltd in domestic championships but having undertaken the Hockey India Coaching Education Pathway, it has certainly created a new path for me to consider in the future,” he said.