Dabang Delhi K.C. have had a forgettable season 5 in VIVO Pro Kabaddi. The main area of concern for them was their defence where they tried multiple options but failed to come up with a winning combination. What also hurt the team was the unavailability of their star defender Nilesh Shinde for a good part of the season owing to an injury. While Shinde wasn’t able to perform his best this time around, none can doubt the old warhorse’s skillset and commitment to the team’s cause. In an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com the seasoned defender shared some secrets of his trade for the benefit of youngsters who may want to make a career in kabaddi.

“My advice to youngsters is to study well and indulge in outdoor activities like sports in their free time instead of being indoors. They don’t especially have to play kabaddi from a very young age but some physical activity is very important. They can play any sport they like as long as they love playing it,” said Shinde before adding, “Speaking specifically about kabaddi, I’d like to say that the sport is getting a lot of recognition now so one can easily make a career in it. If you do well you could even make a name for yourself in kabaddi like many of the current players.”

Shinde also had some advice for aspiring defenders. “Patience is the key to becoming a defender,” said Shinde, “You have to preempt the mistakes of the raider so you can tackle him. Once you develop that ability you can be a successful defender.”

As a defender with one of the best ankle holds in the business Shinde is the authority on the skill and was happy to provide some insight into the specifics. “It is very important to know what the raider is looking to do when he comes in to raid. You can figure out a raider’s plan by looking at his legs. When a raider is close to the baulk line he will probably return to his half empty-handed but when the raider tries for a bonus I consider it a mistake because he has fallen into your trap of making him come deep into your court to get points. That is the perfect opportunity to perform the ankle hold.”

However, before any of these it is important for someone starting out in the sport to achieve a certain level of fitness so that they can give their all on the mat. Recognising this, Shinde’s advice was that those who are new to the sport must strike a balance between fitness exercises and skill practice. “It’s a 40-minute game and if they want to be fit enough to play their best for the entire duration, then in the morning they have to perform fitness activities like running for at least an hour. Then in the evening they can practise different skills that their coaches teach them. If they really want to become good players then they can even go an extra step and watch videos of top players. These days if you want to be a kabaddi player you can get a lot of support from television and the internet,” concluded Shinde.