One of the best players in the NBA, Sam Vincent, was in the capital, interacting with hundreds of young players to inspire them with the philosophy of his coaching school, the Amateur Athletics Union (AAU).
Having played at the highest level with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, the 54-year-old said he had built his coaching around nine principles.
"I learnt passion, communication and respect from Magic Johnson. I took the aspects of appreciation, preparation and work ethic from Larry Bird. I picked up the competitive spirit from Johnson, who wanted to win at everything he did, apart from loyalty and nutrition’’, Vincent noted.
For the young aspirants, Vincent emphasised the importance of eating well since any sport required power, speed and agility, for a fine coordination of brain and body.
He also stressed on a strong work ethic and respect for the coaches so that the players can develope good fundamentals.
"The NBA target might be a little different. We are focused on the masses and help players at whatever level to get better’’, he said.
Following his clinic at the Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, Vincent did not see any difference between the Indian kids and the ones around the world in Europe, America and Africa.
The programme with Vincent was worked out by the trio of Sandeep Singh, Madhavan Pillai and Anand Dubey, who attempt to help youngsters in the age group of five to 18 to progress through various games. There will also be efforts to train the coaches so that more players across the country could benefit from a uniform sports philosophy.
Having worked with the men and women’s teams, Vincent observed that the latter was more disciplined when it came to following the coach’s ideas, whereas the former was inclined to exercise its creative ability.
"I enjoy coaching both. Women are a little more focused’’, he said. The team is working towards setting up a High-Performance Academy with coaching for six days a week with Sam Vincent’s coaching methods.
"I plan to visit here three or four times a year and stay for a week to 10 days each time," said Vincent.
Without kindling the dreams of NBA, which works only for a very small percentage of players, Vincent believes in catering to 99 per cent of sports aspirants, take them on the right path and help them realise their potential. Vincent had beaten Magic Johnson’s school record of 54 points in a match, with 61, in the initial days of his development. In a career spanning seven years, he scored 3106 points in the NBA as well as 1543 assists.
After calling it a day, Vincent has enjoyed coaching in South Africa, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Jamaica.