Future Heroes Kabaddi programme kicked off its third edition in Mumbai on Monday, as young and talented hopefuls from the nation flock in with the hope of ultimately making it to the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage through a series of rigourous sessions across phases.

The programme, through its two editions, has been a grand success in identifying stars and nurturing them in becoming professional kabaddi players. The brightest young stars of the sport are provided with training of the highest quality from coaches with decades worth of experience and are also educated about nutrition, mental and physical fitness that will help them perform at a high level for an extended period.

A select few – their skills polished after the three phases -- will ultimately be introduced in the auction pool ahead of the next edition of VIVO Pro Kabaddi wherein they can hope to be picked up by one of the 12 teams.

Phase I

The FKH programme is split into three phases with phase I -- conducted in multiple cities across the country -- serving as the preliminary selection process. Under the watchful eye of elite kabaddi coaches, the hopefuls are tested for their technical abilities as a player and their physical abilities through a series of skills and fitness drills.

The individual scores marks for each drill that they complete and based on the results, the cream of the crop are shortlisted for the next phase.

Phase II

Here, the players are tested more extensively for physical fitness and skills

The level of competition is significantly higher than phase I which enables the coaches to pit the best young hopefuls and test their abilities as an athlete. Following the completion of the evaluations, the selection panel hand-picks the best performers who move on to the final phase of the programme.

Phase III

In phase III, the nation's best young players gather for a month-long camp where they undergo intensive training to sharpen their skills as a kabaddi player. They are also trained physically and mentally to become better athletes.

From the gym to the ground, various physical aspects like strength, agility, co-ordination and endurance are worked on. Exhaustive technique training is also touched up here, with the help of videos and even playing matches.

Entry into the auction pool

At the conclusion of phase III, the players from phase III are entered into the auction pool under the New Young Players category where teams, through their evaluations during phase III, pick players that they believe can help improve their roster.

The FKH has seen a host of its graduates make it big on the VIVO Pro Kabaddi stage and the upcoming season will likely see more names that excel after coming through the programme.