Junior women’s team coach: ‘Mental training’ an essential component of wrestlers’ training

Ram Budaki elaborates on the need for wrestlers to “reduce their stress levels” for optimum performance.

Members of the junior women’s wrestling team at a send-off ceremony in New Delhi on Friday.   -  AP

The Indian junior women’s wrestling team is put through a regimen of morning and evening meditation as part of their all-round training, revealed team’s coach Ram Budaki.

The team is headed to Slovakia to participate in the Junior World Championships from September 17- September 23. India will also field teams in the men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman categories.

“Along with physical training we emphasise on mental training into the girls regime. It is equally important as physical training,” Budaki told PTI. “The girls are made to do meditation daily. We want to reduce their stress levels. After physical training, they have to do compulsorily morning and evening sessions of meditation,” he added.

‘Positive mindset’

The exercise, according to Budaki, helps players calm their nerves after an exhausting grappling session. “Meditation also helps in motivating the girls, it increases their self-confidence, eliminates self-doubt. We ask the girls to think about whatever makes them feel confident and happy. Things like how it feels to win a medal for India. That sets a positive mindset,” Budaki said.

Read: Sushil, Divya opt out of World Championship

Swati Shinde, who won a bronze medal at the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship in July, acknowledged the value of the exercise, admitting she feels at peace and that “my mind feels lighter once I am through with the session.”

Inspired by Vinesh, Divya

Budaki said the Asian Games success of senior wrestlers such as Vinesh Phogat and Divya Kakran has boosted the morale of his students. “It was a plus point for us that senior players like Divya and Vinesh won medals at the Asian Games. The girls take inspiration from them. We also had a couple of training sessions with them. The girls were thrilled,” Budaki said.

Budaki also elaborated on wrestlers’ preparations ahead of the tourney. “We (coaching staff) gave a lot of extra time to the players as per each ones requirements. I have concentrated more on the techniques this time. We observed the techniques of all the world players, then we had several sessions focussing on those techniques with each wrestler. We have tweaked the techniques of our girls accordingly,” he said.

“I am confident that Anshu, who won a gold medal in the World Cadet Championship; Swati, who is the top player in India in her weight category; and Mansi, who clinched the silver at the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship, will do well,” he signed off.