A year back, India stamped their authority on the international stage for the third time in a row with a thumping performance to become the World Champions in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup. The man who led the way in their victorious campaign as the head coach was none other than Balwan Singh. His energetic attitude and never-say-die demeanour on the mat has always been a plus for every team he has coached.
Currently heading Jaipur Pink Panthers as their head coach from the last two seasons, he sat down in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com to share what exactly the role of a coach should be and how happy he is to be a part of India’s own sport.
What according to you is the role of a coach in VIVO Pro Kabaddi?
A coach has to have a bond with the players and also with the other teams. He is a person who has to motivate his players at the right time and make them feel relaxed when they are under pressure. He has to maintain his dignity on and off the field. The coach has a very important role to play in any sport and not just in kabaddi. There are different players who have different techniques and plans to play, so a coach needs to have a good bond with the players and make them understand their game better. He has to be a role model to the players, make the players understand the game and boost their confidence.
You’re also the Indian coach. How different is it coaching at the national level and in the league?
Over there, we have to think about the pride of the country. Here in Jaipur as well, we have to play well and give our best. We have to manage things with limited resources. We get injuries and sometimes some players do not give their best for some reason. Performance of a team depends on many factors but a coach has to take the initiative and get the best performance out of his team.
You were a player and now you’re a coach. How different is kabaddi as a game and why did you choose this sport?
Kabaddi is one of the best sports in the world. There is no other sport in which we have to chant the name of the sport. It only happens in kabaddi and we challenge the opponent by chanting ‘kabaddi’. It requires a lot of things, like quick reaction ability, concentration and the ability to decide what to do and what not in a fraction of a second, to become the best kabaddi player. Earlier, we didn’t require any equipment to play this sport but now kabaddi mats have come in and because of that the game has become faster.
What is your most memorable moment of season five?
My memorable moment is our match against Mumbai in Jaipur, where they had two players left on the mat when Jasvir Singh went to raid. One of them dived to tackle Jasvir but Jasvir dodged him and then the other player also tried to tackle him but was dodged as well before Jasvir touched the midline. We got four points from that single raid and that’s a memorable moment for me.
Do you follow any other sport other than kabaddi?
I follow all sports and I love them all. It’s my hobby. But I am perfect in my sport, which is kabaddi.
Do you have a favourite sportsman in any other sport?
I follow all the sportspersons who have achieved a lot of respect from their games. There’s a long list of my favourites.