The lockdown was not easy on her and the state team. Having just completed the 2019 – ’20 season, which ran from October 2019 to the first week of March this year, the players in her team were planning to get their much needed rest when the lockdown was announced.
Like everybody else, it took a while for the team to understand the seriousness of the situation and they realized that they may not be able to train on the field for some time.
In mid-April, Aarti slowly started the players on a fitness regime. She says she gave them a couple of batting, fielding and bowling drills that they could do without assistance.
Soon she started working on the mental aspect of getting them into the groove. She says, “For a sportsperson the day starts with a workout. They would like to go out and work out a sweat. When that is not possible, a sense of desperation sets in. They think of it as lost time.”
Convincing the players that they had not lost time was a challenge. She says she advised them to look at this time as an opportunity to learn new things. Many of them had been good artists and dancers and had stopped those interests to pursue cricket. Some players had also done courses on calligraphy and on diet and nutrition.
” I asked all of them to revisit their passions, to pursue them,” says this coach.
The team would do a video chat every week and players would talk about time spent on their tours and would have fun time too.
Though the lockdown has now been lifted, she says other challenges have cropped up. Says Aarti, “With the re-opening of sports facilities, players who have been training on their own inside their home have not been able to handle the physical requirements of outdoor practice as before. Match fitness is a completely different ball game. Players have not been out in the sun for months now. They will now have to accept the fact that it will take time to get acclimatized to outdoor practice”.
Yet another challenge she says is the absence of sufficient cricket nets to practice. “Earlier we could practice anywhere. All grounds would be open and ready to use. Now the players don’t have many venues to practice as most of the venues are closed. And we also have to be wary of where to go, how many people are using the equipment and other details”.
Despite this Aarti says her team is looking forward to playing their first match of the season which she hopes will be sooner than later.
Aarti completed her Level A coach certification course at the National Cricket Academy in 2009. In 2012, she started working as the assistant coach for the TN under-19 women’s cricket team. In 2014 she completed her Level B certification and from 2014 to 2018, she was the head coach for the under-16 and under-19 team.
In 2019, she became the head coach for the under-19 and under-23 team. For the 2019-2020 season, she was made coach of the senior women’s team.
Aarti is a resident of Thiru-Vi-Ka First Lane, Mylapore. She can be reached at email@example.com.
AARTI’S TIPS TO SPORTSPEOPLE
– Eat healthy. Stay hydrated and watch your carb intake.
– Maintain a strict schedule. Get up early and sleep early.
– Make a dedicated effort to exercise everyday. Use the stairs wherever you can.
– Be grateful and positive always.