Sasi Kumar Mukund: 'Youngsters better off with group coaching'

Mukund said youngsters shouldn't waste money on “one-on-one session” with the coaches, which he hinted was developing into a “scam” in the country.

Sasi Kumar Mukund has been honing his cooking skills during the lockdown.   -  Special Arrangement

Apart from honing his cooking skills, Sasi Kumar Mukund, the fourth best ranked Indian tennis player at the moment, is keeping himself occupied during the lockdown by offering sound advice for the young players and their parents.

In a lively chat on social media with one of the best coaches in the country, Sureshkumar Sonachalam, Mukund touched on a variety of topics, providing invaluable insight for the tennis fraternity.

Mukund was categorical in saying that the young players were better off with group coaching, as it offered variety, rather than wasting money with “one-on-one session” with the coaches, which he hinted was developing into a “scam” in the country. He pointed out that some of the parents believed that spending more money and having “direct coach attention” would automatically translate into better quality of tennis.

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He also stressed that in trying to get results quickly the young players and parents were losing focus on development.

Coach Sureshkumar said that the physical foundation had to be the focus till the age of 10, and tennis should start thereafter. He insisted that good foundation in terms of physical, technical and mental aspects, apart from loads of patience would steer the players to a good career in the game.

“If the window for development is not utilised at the right age, you may not be able to catch up later, no matter how much you work,” the coach cautioned. He said that the focus could be on fitness, core stability, endurance apart from meditation and visualisation during the lockdown.

Mukund was honest in conceding that it was unfair to project that the tennis players had “lost livelihood” because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Most of us can afford food and housing. In India, we have jobs. We may be losing money, but we are not spending either,” he said.

“When you are playing, you have to be in the moment, every moment, even as the focus keeps shifting. The top players don’t judge their shots as good or bad, they just focus on getting the job done. Meditation is our strength, and practising for six months to a year, will show the results,” said the coach.

Mukund was honest in conceding that it was unfair to project that the tennis players had “lost livelihood” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Most of us can afford food and housing. In India, we have jobs. We may be losing money, but we are not spending either,” said Mukund.

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Suresh lavished praise on the tennis players, whose “drive to excel and other unbelievable mental qualities” prepare them well for any career, when they quit their professional career.

“There is no risk involved in pursuing tennis as a career. The opportunities are many,” he said.

Mukund dismissed the idea of “defensive tennis”, saying that it was not a style of play any more.

“The ball travels faster. You can’t catch up. Playing defensive is not the answer,” said Mukund. He observed that the players may not have the right perception of the game and the presence of a coach would help in providing the right understanding and reading of “momentum change” in a match.

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