Published: 24th November 2021
Why Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia believes online sports training is here to stay
Online might be the safe option now but as everything around us opens up and life gets back to normal, will it still survive? Bhaichung says it will grow
Is online training for sports the in-thing? Former captain of the Indian Football Team Bhaichung Bhutia definitely thinks so and he feels the trend is here to stay. Bhaichung just conducted his first major online session for budding footballers on MiDigiWorld.
Online might be the safe option now but as everything around us opens up and life gets back to normal, will it still survive? Bhaichung thinks the pandemic has only given online coaching the exposure it lacked but it will definitely grow in the coming years. "I think it is very important to have online training whether you have a pandemic-like situation or not. There are a lot of kids in bigger cities with no access to grounds or even friends to play with, forget coaches to train them. I think online is a great medium for them to get trained and also stay fit. When it comes to football, you get to learn from certified coaches and trainers who can show you the drills," he said. "I don't think it will go away. It might, in fact, get bigger. Not many people were doing it before. But with the pandemic, it has grown exponentially. The awareness has increased," added the Sikkimese Sniper.
When we talk about online training for sports, the obvious question is how are you going to teach someone contact sports like football if you are not really there. "Football is obviously an outdoor and a team sport. But at the end of the day, you have to teach techniques to every player individually. I think online classes help individuals to focus more — they don't have their teammates around, there's no disturbance. This helps in terms of training and technique. With online classes, you are doing that on a phone or a laptop. You are more focused rather than on the open field. But whatever you learn online, you have to perform outdoor physically," said the ace footballer.
It was a great experience to teach online, said Bhaichung. "I haven't done so much of online guiding or coaching myself but it was a great experience. I had my teammate with me to train and teach the kids and we did our best. This was a first-of-a-kind experience for me. We did basic training — shooting, dribbling. We even trained them on penalty kicks, which even top players tend to miss. But when young players are starting off these are the basics they should know whether they are playing professionally or are amateurs. If they work on it they can perfect it," he added.
But while this might all seem great, India still has very low internet connectivity — 37 per cent by some estimates. How will it help the aam aadmi? Bhaichung said that the coaches and grounds are fewer and whatever percentage of the population it helps will boost the sport. "Especially when it comes to football, and I am not comparing it to cricket, the kind of limitations we have when it comes to coaches and the access to even grounds I think is far lower than the internet connection. We might have a bad network but it will be a thousand times better. Whatever and wherever it reaches, it will be a huge boost for the game," said Bhaichung.