Sundays with Purav : Episode 6 – “Taare Zameen Par”

“Sundays with Purav” is a 11 part series in collaboration with our very own, Purav Raja. Through his first hand experience of competing on the ATP Tour, Purav aims to educate Indian tennis parents, fans, and community, in general, about what our country needs to do to be called a sporting nation

Have you ever been to an Indian nightclub and almost come to blows with another guy? Nothing really happens, but everyone is talking a big game. This is exactly how India is in sport – we all talk a big game but not many have the real belief of achieving that dream.

The mental side in any sport is a dark grey world where you have to deal with the fear of failure as well as the pressure of success. Nerves are a very common part of sport and melting under pressure can kill any dream. In India, we are born to celebrate mediocrity, so there is pressure at very amateur and intermediate levels too.

My point to you all is that I promise you nobody cares about your son or daughter’s under 10 state championships result. There is no benefit of them winning that tournament and the end goal has to be for them to compete in a Grand Slam. From a parent’s point of view, I would suggest you to make sure that you are putting all the right stepping stones in place for the child to become a great mens/women’s national and international player.

Yes it is tough, because you lose sponsors and the ego of the under 10 boy and his mother is affected, as losing to another colleague is never easy. However, my plea to you all is to please think of the end goal. Does it really matter in the big scheme of life whether your child won that under 10 state ranking tournament? Do you really remember or care whether Mr.Ambani stood first in his class at school?

It is very important that we look at things in perspective and set about achieving world class goals for the stars of tomorrow. Spanish tennis players don’t have goals about being top 100(normal goal for an Indian player) on the ATP rankings. There are 20 players already in the top 100 and all of them want to be the next Rafael Nadal. Success breeds success and nothing succeeds likes success. Aim for the sky and you might reach the top of the tree!

As a suggestion, I think some knowledgable sportsmen should start holding courses and clinics, especially for parents of young sportsmen, who aim to put their children into any sport. Parents are an imperative part of the child’s sporting success. However, they need to be educated just like the coach and the trainer, understanding what their exact role in the child’s sporting journey is. It is a strong core team, with a coach-trainer-parent trio, along with finances in perfect balance, that has a chance of building a world class athlete.

I’m sure some of you look and think of Federer, Tendulkar, Bolt and Ronaldo as pure miracles that fell from heaven – let me burst your bubble and remind you that they are nothing but perfectly planned human beings. Each one has spent their entire lives with the help of their team to be the world’s best. Our job as parents is in the preparation and opportunity. Fail to prepare – prepare to fail.

After all, the truth that hurts me is that even if you do prepare and do everything right as a parent, your chances are still less than one in a million. Now do you still want to put all your eggs in one basket and be the next Sachin?

Impossible is nothing, thank you! 🙂
Purav Raja


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