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Insights from a cricket coach - Nandan Phadnis

As part of our effort to provide every cricketer an equal opportunity to train, play and enjoy the game we speak to experts from the field to share their experience, insights and thoughts. This week we spoke with Nandan Phadnis, a cricketer, coach and an administrator about the key aspects of cricket coaching, setting the right expectations for parents and mindset for a cricketer to follow.

The following is the complete transcript of the discussion:

Santosh: Welcome Nandan, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us why you chose the path of cricket coaching after playing cricket for so long?

Nandan: Cricket coaching is a highly fulfilling profession as it provides ample opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience with aspiring players. The transition from being a player to a coach is a natural progression that involves not just a change in roles, but also a shift in mindset. As a coach, you get to impart valuable insights and techniques that can help your players improve their game and reach their full potential. In addition to this, coaching also allows you to develop your own skills and learn new strategies that can be applied in various scenarios. It is a profession that demands patience, dedication, and passion, but the rewards of seeing your players grow and succeed make it all worthwhile.

Santosh: According to you how should coaching be approached?

Nandan: Coaches play a crucial role in the development of athletes. It's not just about teaching the skill, but also about building strong relationships with players. By connecting with players, coaches can better convey their message and help them reach their full potential. It's worth noting that athletes interact with an average of at least 28 coaches throughout their lives, from amateur to professional levels. With this in mind, it's important for coaches to learn from each other and share best practices in order to provide the best possible support and guidance to players. By doing so, coaches can help athletes develop not only their physical abilities, but also their mental and emotional well-being, which can have a lasting impact on their lives both on and off the field.

Santosh: How to deal with players from diverse backgrounds?

Nandan: In order to fully develop a player's potential, it is important to recognize that each player is unique and responds to coaching in their own way. As a coach, the focus should be on the player and their individual needs. Building programs that are tailored to the player's strengths and weaknesses is crucial. But it is also important to connect with the player on a personal level, taking the time to understand their goals, aspirations, and the factors that influenced their decision to take up the sport.

The holistic development of a player is multi-faceted, encompassing elements such as technique, mindset, lifestyle, fitness, and nutrition. By addressing all of these areas, coaches can help shape better individuals, not just better athletes.

It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to coaching. The process is complex and requires a deep understanding of each player's unique circumstances. However, the ultimate responsibility of a coach is to take a player from one level to the next, and then ultimately become redundant as the player's skills and knowledge continue to develop.

Santosh: How have the coaching tools evolved over time?

Nandan: The art of coaching is based on fundamental principles that are used to take individuals from one level to the next in their development. This process involves investing in the person and providing them with the necessary tools, techniques, and technology to help them achieve their goals. Over time, there has been a significant increase in the awareness of coaching as a profession, and this has led to the development of new content and approaches to coaching. As a result, the coach profile has changed, with more emphasis placed on the professional approach and the ability to command higher salaries due to the increased demand for their services.

Santosh: Can you list top 3 qualities that you look for in a cricket coach

Nandan: One important aspect of being successful in the field of athletics is the ability to empathise with others. This means that coaches and trainers should take the time to understand the needs and concerns of their athletes, and work to build strong relationships with them. When athletes feel that their coaches care about them as people, they are more likely to trust their guidance and work harder to achieve their goals.

Another key aspect of successful athletic coaching is the ability to put the athlete first. This means that coaches should prioritize the needs and goals of their athletes above their own personal ambitions or desires. By doing so, coaches can help athletes to feel valued and supported, and can create a positive team culture that encourages everyone to work together towards success.

In addition to empathy and athlete-centered coaching, it is also important for coaches and trainers to demonstrate competence and strong character. This means having the necessary knowledge and skills to guide athletes towards their goals, as well as embodying positive values such as honesty, integrity, and respect. Finally, leadership is another critical trait for successful coaches and trainers. A good leader is able to inspire and motivate their team to achieve great things, while also setting a positive example for others to follow. By balancing these different traits and qualities, coaches and trainers can help their athletes to achieve their full potential and succeed both on and off the field.

Santosh: Goals for a player and coach when starting out the journey

Nandan: To achieve success in sports, it is important to start by understanding your "why". This means identifying the underlying motivation that drives you as a player, coach, or parent. Once you have a clear sense of what motivates you, it is important to stay focused on your goals and avoid distractions that can derail your progress. One effective way to stay on track is to set and achieve milestones along the way, which can help you maintain momentum and build confidence.

It's essential to remain open to feedback and adopt a growth mindset. This means being willing to learn from mistakes and take constructive criticism, rather than becoming defensive or closed off to new ideas. Consistent hard work is another key factor that can lead to success over time. By working hard every day, you can build positive habits that will compound over time and help you achieve your goals.

Of course, it's also important to manage your workload effectively and maintain balance in your life. This means making time for rest and recovery, as well as staying organized and focused on your priorities. Keeping things in perspective is also crucial, and it can be helpful to chart out a plan for achieving your goals and executing on that plan with discipline and determination.

Most importantly, it's essential to love what you're doing and find joy in the process. Don't just go through the motions because you feel like you have to; instead, focus on the things that inspire and motivate you, and try to enjoy every step along the way. By staying motivated, disciplined, and focused on your goals, you can achieve success in sports and in life.

Santosh: Current landscape of cricket

Nandan: Cricket is a game that comes with significant expenses. Players need to invest in proper equipment, training facilities and coaching as well as take care of their nutrition and fitness. However, despite the costs, there are now more opportunities than ever before in the cricket world, with popular leagues like the IPL and WPL providing players with a platform to showcase their skills.

Cricket is a game that requires players to adapt to different formats. For instance, players need to be able to play with a red ball, participate in ODI tournaments, play in T-20 matches, and compete in Day games. Each format requires different skills and strategies, and players need to be able to make quick decisions and take larger risks accordingly.

A good coach is essential for any player looking to succeed in cricket. A skilled coach can help train players in all the different formats of the game, ensuring that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to compete at the highest levels. With the right training and guidance, any player can become a master of the game, able to excel in any format of cricket they choose to play.

Santosh: What is the role of parents in an athletes journey?

Nandan: In order to ensure the success of young athletes, it is crucial to involve their parents in the process. Education and counseling for parents regarding their child's athletic journey is important to set the right expectations and handle any concerns that may arise. Parents play a pivotal role in this journey, providing both financial and emotional support for their child.

To ensure that parents are well-equipped to support their child, structured education or counseling can be provided to them. This will help to establish transparent communication between parents and coaches, and ensure that parents are not dominating or imposing their aspirations onto the player.

However, it can be difficult to convince parents to trust the coaches and their goals for the player. Building trust with parents is therefore an important step for coaches. Setting realistic goals and milestones with the player and their parents can help to establish trust, as well as involving parents in player reviews during the season, pre and post-season.

By involving parents in the journey, coaches can help to ensure that the player receives the support they need to succeed, both on and off the field.

Santosh: How can cricket academies help a player or a coach to be succesful?

Nandan: In order to create a successful player journey, it is important to start with a clear vision and purpose. This vision should be communicated effectively to all stakeholders involved in the player journey, including administrators and associations. These organizations play a significant role in shaping the direction of the player journey, and it is important to build strong relationships with them.

In addition, it is crucial to establish positive relationships with coaches, players, and parents. This can be achieved through clear communication, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to the success of the player journey. By setting expectations early on and establishing a culture of collaboration and teamwork, coaches can create a supportive and empowering environment for their players.

It is also important to acknowledge that the success of a player journey cannot be attributed solely to the efforts of a single coach. Rather, it is a team effort that involves a wide range of individuals, including assistant coaches, trainers, parents, and even other players. By recognizing the contributions of all stakeholders and fostering a sense of collective responsibility, coaches can help to create a truly successful and rewarding player journey.

Santosh: Advice for a cricket coach, player and thier parents?

Nandan: Here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Coach - Building a strong relationship with the individual is key to developing a successful coaching strategy. In addition to focusing on specific skills and techniques, it's important to understand the individual's strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, you can help them reach their full potential and improve their overall performance.
  • Player - Pursuing your dreams can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's important to remember that hard work and dedication are essential. While it's important to give 100% to your craft, it's also a good idea to have a backup career option in case things don't work out as planned. Remember, even the most talented individuals may face setbacks and challenges along the way.
  • Parent - Having the right expectations can help you support your child's athletic pursuits in a healthy and productive way. While it's natural to want your child to succeed, it's important to remember that every athlete has their own unique journey. By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, you can help your child develop a love for the sport and a sense of pride in their own accomplishments.

Santosh: Any parting thoughts?


  • The coach's role is to empower the player.
  • The player should become independent as soon as possible.
  • The coach should become redundant as quickly as possible.

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