From an Established Kabaddi Player to an Established Kabaddi Coach: The Story of Tejnarayan Madhav
Tejnarayan Prasad Madhav-
Former Kabaddi Player-India, Jharkhand, Jharkhand Police.
Coach- NIS, Jharkhand Men's and Women's team.
AKFI Technical Official and Kabaddi administrator
Tejnarayan Madhav has been a known name in the Indian Kabaddi ecosystem for quite some time now. Madhav started his career as a player who went on to play for India, Jharkhand, and Jarkhand Police team. Then in 2012, an injury stuck and he had to take a call on his playing career. He decided to stay away from the sport for three years until one day he decided to get back, but this time in a new avatar- as a coach!
He was also appointed as the Competition Manager for Kabaddi in the Khelo India Games 2020.
In the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi tournament, he coached the Jharkand women's to a bronze medal which was the first time Jharkhand has won a medal in Senior Nationals. Recently, he was appointed as one of the coaches for the online National team camp amidst the Pandemic.
We at Kabaddi Adda had a chance to talk to Mr. Tejnarayan where he threw some light on his journey as a player, as a coach and much more.
KA: Talk us through your playing journey on how it all started?
Tej: My story about Kabaddi goes back in time to 1995 when I was in the 7th std in school. My school Kabaddi coach was looking to build a team and was enquiring all the students to come for selections. I was a tall boy in school, so I got myself enrolled and also made it through to the team post selections. Back then, Kabaddi was not a very popular sport as it is today. The word Kabaddi brought a very different reaction to people, the sport was always looked down upon back then. But as I started playing the game for some time the interest factor grew, soon my game also grew at a rapid phase. That is how Kabaddi became an integral part of my life.
KA: How and when did you get your first break as a player?
Tej: The word break has a lot of hard work that is put in by the player, it takes about three to four years of playing the sport and then you get a break if you are good enough. In my case, for the first three years, I was playing district level Kabaddi and did not get a chance at the national level. The thing back then was that youngsters were not considered much for selections as they are in today's day and age. Even though there is enough talent in the young players to perform they can only do so if given a chance. It was a tough time for me mentally because after putting in so much hard work for the first three-four years your talent does not get recognized. But there is a saying that Hard Work never fails to deliver results and in 1999, I made it to the Jharkhand team for Junior Nationals in Delhi. The same year I also made it to Junior India camp based on my performance.
KA: Now that we have heard about your playing days, what about the coaching? How did that thought come across?
Tej: The coaching area was not something I had thought of in the beginning, but in 2012 I had a ligament injury which forced me to stay from Kabaddi for 3 years. The last tournament I was part of as a player was the Kabaddi Premier League, I was part of the Hyderabad franchise, which was led by Mr. Manpreet Singh. We went on to win the KPL title. In the three years break, I was thinking to quit playing and get into the coaching line. But in 2012 there was hardly any mode of communication or access to information in the town I was staying in and three years just went by just like that. In 2015, I told myself this can't go on and decided to do my NIS coaching course, and then from there, my coaching stint began.
KA: Tell us about your experience as a competition Manager for Kabaddi in Khelo India games 2020
Tej: When I saw this opportunity, I went through their requirement list and I happen to fulfill them, so I went ahead and applied for the same. Soon I got a call back telling me that I got selected for the role and I was very excited. I would like to thank Mr. SP Garg for this opportunity. I will always be grateful for this.
The experience was great and it was such great learning for me during the tournament. Khelo India as an event is nothing less than an international event, everything was so well organized, from the games to the hospitality and all of it was at an international level. It was a brilliant event which I'm very proud to be part of.
KA: Take us through your journey of coaching the Jharkhand team to its success in the Senior Nationals
Tej: Coaching is something which I love and I would always give my 100% irrespective of who I'm coaching. But I have a strong opinion on Coaches being involved in the selection process of a team. If a coach is spending one month with a set of players, he/she would be the perfect person to judge the players who have played over a month. You can never judge a player by just looking at him for a few minutes. Players will have a good day and a bad day too, that does not take away anything from their skill. So I feel it's important that the coaches also need to get involved in the selection of the players. I'm very grateful that Jharkhand allowed me to coach as well as select the players based on their skill and the result is in front of you (A Bronze medal by Jharkhand women's team at the 67th Senior Nationals Kabaddi Championships).
KA: How does it feel to be included in the online coaching program for the Junior Indian team camp? and talk us through the experience of coaching online
Tej: First of all, I would like to thank AKFI administrator Mr. SP Garg and Assistant Secretary Mr. Chaturvedi for their positive thinking towards the sport of Kabaddi. Even during a tough time like the Pandemic, they were able to bring all the national players together and got them united. Since there was no tournament happening since March, all the players and coaches were very demotivated. Not being able to play the sport you love is one of the most difficult things for an athlete and their game gets hampered due to inactiveness. So hats off to AKFI for coming up with an online training program during tough times like these.
Personally, for me, it was a great experience. I was with the Junior girls and I did not have to teach them the basics. This training was all about throwing some light on player development, skill development, and the importance of fitness in a sport like Kabaddi. One of the biggest challenges was to putting a very practical sport in theory, but it was new and learning experience for me and everyone who was part of this program.
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