One of the most fearsome all-rounders in the League, Sandeep Narwal, feels that while diet plays a vital role in a sportsman's life, it is not the defining factor for youngsters.
The vivo Pro Kabaddi veteran stressed that training hard and having single-minded determination can help a youngster overcome any deficiency he might have in his diet if optimal nutrition isn’t available to him.
“Most kabaddi players come from middle-class families and don’t have access to supplements and protein powders,” said Sandeep Narwal during vivo Pro Kabaddi’s live chat show on Instagram, Beyond the Mat.
“I would like to tell all the youngsters who follow me to focus on improving their game from an early stage with the diet they can get at home. If you prove yourself, then you will be picked up for professional training and there everything will be taken care of.”
Sandeep Narwal believed that a lot of youngsters fall prey to the trap of relying heavily on only their nutrition and supplements and getting disappointed if they don’t have access to these.
Many times kabaddi aspirants also give up hope of making it to the highest level if they feel that they cannot afford to include adequate quantities of protein-rich food in their diet.
However, Sandeep Narwal stressed that this could not be farther from the truth and, while there are specific diet plans for the game, a youngster who just has regular food at home need not drop his hopes of playing at a high level.
"The concept of a good diet varies in each region of our country,” he said, “North Indian food is not the same as South Indian food and vice versa. The focus should be to have the food you are getting at home and use the energy to push yourself the extra mile.”
However, the all-rounder conceded that even at home, a diet which consists of higher protein can benefit a youngster so even if they don’t rely on supplements, youngsters should try to have fixed protein sources in each meal even if they come from pocket-friendly sources.
"A player with a good diet will face fewer injuries during his kabaddi career. But focus on the protein-rich foods you can get at home instead of dwelling on what you've missed out on," explained Sandeep Narwal.
Sandeep Narwal admitted to having a sweet tooth early in life but said he realised how important it is for a sportsperson to avoid any fattening food after joining vivo Pro Kabaddi. Armed with this experience, he feels that knowing what to avoid is as important as knowing what to eat when it comes to a good diet.
"Just focus on the benefits of your healthy eating choices and stay positive about your goals. If you trust your process, hard work and your training then your efforts will really pay off.
“In a sport like kabaddi, diet remains an essential cog but it's your attitude and your intent to be the best which sets you apart from the crowd," stated Sandeep Narwal.