India’s chief national badminton coach P. Gopi Chand formally launched his autobiography ‘Shuttler’s Flick: Making every match count’ at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad on Friday. The book is co-authored by Priya Kumar.

Telangana Minister K.T. Rama Rao, the president of Telangana Badminton Association, engaged the former All England champion in a conversation. They traced his journey into badminton as a player, coach and the challenges he faced in producing some of the biggest names of world badminton, including Olympic medallists Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, B. Sai Praneeth and former World No.1 K. Srikanth.

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“My work doesn’t start and end on the court. It continues off the court too. I keep myself challenged by not making the routines, discipline and training boring. I try to introduce variables, challenges and sometimes even fun to keep the players enthusiastic about the game as well as to not let their bodies slip into a comfort zone,” Gopi quoted from his book.

He said it was virtually impossible to make it to championship level without a coach in any field, sports included. “You may be able to hit your target once but to hit it 100 times, you need structured practice,” he added.

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“You have to learn and create ways to improve. Take yourself to a position where every action becomes instinctive because you put in the time and sweat to build your muscle for spontaneous responses,” he said.

“As a coach, I have a 24x7 job with my players. My work is not an eight-hour engagement. I am responsible for what my players do in their training, practice and games. I am also responsible for what they do when they are not on the court,” Gopi said.

“Being a coach is a position of great responsibility. When my players show me their limit, I don’t buy in. I show them how much more they can do. When they are beaten, defeated or injured, I have to work with them in such a way that I not only have to ensure that they return to the game, but they return better,” he said.