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Updates found with 'coaching'

Know your legend: Sanjay Chakravarty, the man who has given India some of its finest shooting stars.In his 40-year coaching career, the Dronacharya awardee, has helped guide champion shooters like Anjali Bhagwat and Gagan Narang among others.Shooting coach Sanjay Chakravarty continues to mutter something under his breath everytime a young rifle shooter at the Veer Sawarkar shooting range in Mumbai takes a shot and then tries to analyse his effort by looking at the target card.“You have to study your own position and not the shot to become a better shooter, ” he tells this correspondent. “The target doesn’t move, its your body that moves, ” the 76-year-old exclaims.The youngster probably wasn’t aware that he was training in the presence of a former India international, who is credited with producing some of India’s finest marksmen.Chakravarty is wondering whether to walk up and talk to the youngster.In a coaching career that has spanned over 40 years, Chakravarty has molded careers of many such youngsters and made them into champion shooters.Anjali Bhagwat, Deepali Deshpande, Anuja Tere (now Jung) and then Suma Shirur and London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang are just a few who have trained under Chakravarty.Born in Uttar Pradesh, Chakravarty began his shooting career only after joining the Indian Navy. Though he represented India in quite a few international events, coaching proved to be his true calling.He doesn’t quite remember the number of players he has worked with in these years. “I never had an academy set up, it was not easy to keep a tab on the number of shooters who trained under me, ” he reasons.There are some number, though, which cannot be forgotten. Between them, his wards have so far won over 100 international medals, including a dozen podium finishes at the Commonwealth Games and a number of them at the World Cup.Building foundation for shootingSpeaking recently at a gathering of national-level shooters, Bhagwat recalled how tips from a senior shooter during a shooting camp kick-started her journey to becoming one of India’s premier shooters.“We had gone to the Worli shooting range as part of our NCC shooting course, ” Bhagwat said. “We were really really struggling when one senior shooter walked up to us to give tips and that is how it all started, ” she added.That senior shooter was Chakravarty, who was then part of the Services team.As a senior shooter, Chakravarty was also helping the team members at the range when he saw a group of young girls practicing and felt they had the spark to become good shooters.“I played for India but I always wanted to take up coaching, ” says Chakravarty.“After working with Anjali, Deepa and others felt like they had the spark to do something special, ” he explained.The technical know-how about the sport wasn’t as advanced in India as it is today. Chakravarty was first few who helped bring in professionalism and built the foundation of success for the youngsters on hard work and self-realisation of their strengths and weaknesses.“It was a very important role he played in our lives because we started in those days when everything was so unprofessional, ” recalls Bhagwat. “I didn’t know at the time that such a sport existed in the world and that it’s played at the international level.“We started from scratch. The knowledge which Sanjay sir also had was very limited. We actually grew together. That work was very important. And due to him, our basics are very strong, ” says Bhagwat, adding the coach was a very hard task master and that helped them stay focused.“We started and everywhere we had problems. We had problems in equipment, accessories, no ammunition, no ranges. We used to practice (for 50m events) by cutting our targets of that size and putting it on the 25 metres. In those conditions, we have started. But the only thing why we could survive was the push and a strong faith in our skill and capability and our calibre which Sanjay Sir gave us, ” she adds.Wry sense of humourApart from this, Chakravarty boasted of strong communication skills. His style of using sense of humour to drive home the point or motivate the players, stood out.Explaining the way he dealt with situations, Suma Shirur says, “Once we had gone for a Nationals. And it was an open-sight Nationals. I had to qualify for the nationals... I won the gold and I did fantastic. And then immediately I had to go for the nationals. So I went a high note and I was like ‘Wow, I’m in the nationals and I can do it.’“So I went to the match and my rifle broke. My cylinder started leaking. So I was shooting and the shots were dropping. I didn’t know what was happening. They tried to repair it, it didn’t work. But I just kind of hung on. I finished my match and I came out and I was so disappointed. It was a disaster. But I couldn’t see Sir anywhere. I’m like ‘Where’s Sir? Can’t find him anywhere.’“And then I went out, and I saw Sir sitting under a tree smoking. Sir is a chain smoker. He was sitting under the tree smoking, and I went there and I could’ve just started crying. But sir very calmly just told me ‘Thank God, this was not the Olympics.’ That one line just changed everything. That one line made me forget about what happened. That one line instilled that confidence in me despite the failure that I can do it. It’s the one line that defined my future and it was then on it was only the Olympics that was in my mind, ” said Shirur, who reached the 10m Air Rifle final in the 2004 Athens Olympics.The 76-year-old insists his focus as a coach was to let the players understand themselves and he felt that all technical adjustments had to be worked around that knowledge. “If you know your body properly, if you are say about 5 feet 2 inches in height, you should know what 5 feet 2 inches is properly. If you know, you can stop (control the movement of the body while shooting) it. And if you can stop it, you’re world number one. It’s very simple, ” says Chakravarty.That is precisely why even when he was part of the national squad, Chakravarty made it a point not to try and change the techniques of any players, who were not directly working with him as that would only confuse them.Gunning for gloryEven when he later joined the Gagan Narang’s Gun for Glory academy in Pune, it was with the motivation to work with younger shooters. He mostly concentrated on helping them understand the nitty-gritties and motivated them to go the extra yard.“He would normally call us to the room, chat with us, make us read motivational books after training and try to prepare us for next day’s sessions, ” says Shriyanka Sadangi, who represented India in many junior internationals while she was training in Pune.At 76, Chakravarty doesn’t travel much but makes it a point to come and sit at the Savarkar centre once a week to just watch youngsters shoot.“I did not marry. Shooting was everything for me, ” says Chakravarty. “It still feels good when I come and sit hear. Not many of these shooters know me but I am happy to come and watch, ” says the coach, who helped build Mumbai’s first 10 metre shooting range outside the Maharashtra Rifle Association facility at the Ruia college.His students held a special function to felicitate him when he turned 75 and then collectively nominated him for a Dronacharya Award which he received in August last year. While Chakravarty is happy to be conferred the honour, he insisted he never thought a lot about it.“Once you keep on working, I don’t think you see towards that. Because you are so busy with the players and even if you’re not coaching them, you know he can still become an international but I’m not coaching him. You see that also is a journey. So award - reward doesn’t come (to mind) because it doesn’t give me anything. Just a few rupees for smoking purposes, ” he adds.The award, however, has rekindled his interest in coaching and if anyone approaches him, he says he is once again ready to start from scratch and help produce another champion shooter.
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Narang takes big leap in honing budding shooters2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang is already credited with nurturing talented shooters like Heena Sidhu, Apurvi Chandela and Rahi Sarnobat, who all trained at his ‘Gun for Glory’ shooting academies for years. For rising stars like Pooja Ghatkar, Mahima and Turhi Agarwal, the 10m air rifle shooter is perfectly playing the role of a mentor. Always ready to give back to the sport, which gave him all the name and fame, the 34-year-old Narang is ready with another ambitious programme — Project Leap — to produce future Olympics champions.He spoke to The Tribune about the project:Excerpts:Tell us about the programme? Project Leap is about identifying young and talented shooters and train them into medal-winning prospects at the international championships, including Olympics. For the first year, we have begun by selecting 23 out of the 57 shortlisted shooters. The shooters went through a trial, where they were asked to showcase their scientific, physical, meta-cognitive and technical skills. Out of the chosen ones, Mahima and Elanevil are already part of the junior national team. The selected shooters will attend a fully-funded Elite Junior Excellence Camp at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune and will be trained by world-renowned coaches Anton Belak (Slovakia) and Kim Seonil (Korea).How does the programme work?The methodology is to organise five camps of 12 days each over a period of one year. It’s about getting 60 days of elite coaching from foreign experts. We have divided the age groups in five categories — 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18 and 18-20. There will be a dedicated team of professionals to monitor a shooter’s scores, basics and technical skills. When theses shooters get selected for the Indian team, they don’t have to start from the scratch. The coaches at the junior national camps would only be required to finetune their skills. If we are targeting a medal at the 2020 or 2024 Olympics, we have to start from the grassroots level. …but what after 60 days of training?These shooters would return to the Gun for Glory regional academies. Their progress would be monitored by the academy coaches, who have already been trained by foreign coaches. It’s about ensuring that the training imparted to these shooters remains in sync with the programme. The shooters would then be encouraged to participate in domestic competitions to break into the national team.What about your own plans for next year’s CWG and Asian Games?I have just made a comeback into the national team in the 10m air rifle event. At the moment, I am focussing on air rifle and 50m rifle prone events. Prone would, of course, go out of the 2020 Olympic programme. But, it would remain there until the World Championships next year. So, for the CWG, Asian Games and World Championships, I would compete in the air rifle and 50m prone. After the Worlds, I will start focussing on 50m rifle 3-positions.
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Still going all Gagans blazing, age notwithstandingSporting comebacks are not easy. But there are many fruitful stories of athletes returningafter a break to have one final swing. After the Rio Olympics, the Indian shooting contingent received a lot of flak for their poor show. Gagan Narang, who was a part of the team, went there with a lot of expectations centered around him. Unfortunately, he could not live up to them.After a while, news about Gagan shifting his focus to coaching and mentoring the next generation of shooters was doing the rounds. His break from taking part in competitions also had many believe that he had hung up his boots.Though he started the Gun for Glory academy in 2011 and founded Project Leap — a mentorship programme in association with the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) — recently, Narang never really stopped competing.And that reflected on Thursday as he bagged silver in the men’s 50m rifle prone event at the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Gold Coast. “I took part in a few competitions on my own cost due to the current selection policy, and shot some good scores there.“That boosts your confidence and motivation to another level. Shooting is my number one priority now and the drive of doing well is higher than ever, ” he told Express from Australia.In fact, missing out in Rio is something that fired him up and helped him bag this medal. But the London bronze-medallist was not very happy with his performance. “I narrowly missed a place in the finals (in Rio) in prone, and that’s motivation enough to go back to the drawing board, re-strategise, work hard, and come back. I am close but not entirely satisfied with my performance. But this will certainly help me work in the necessary direction to improve, ” he added.At his age, juggling coaching and competing at the same time can be tricky. But Gagan does not feel that multiple responsibilities have taken a toll on his game. And this comeback is certainly not going to be his last outing. With the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games approaching, he is determined to prove a point.“I do not actively coach anyone except Pooja Ghatkar. I do however oversee and mentor some of the shooters while I am on the range. But it does not hamper my own preparations. I am happy as long as my thoughts and energies are flowing in and around my sport. “Any competition has it’s own challenges, both technical and mental. I am working on them one step at a time. Age is just a number as far as shooting is concerned.”
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Recognition boost for Gagan Narang’s catch ’em young projectLondon Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang has been doing grassroot work for budding shooters for some time. In partnership with various state governments, his organisation — Gagan Narang Sports Promotion foundation — has opened 17 ‘Gun for Glory’ (GFG) shooting academies, to train youngsters.For outstanding work in mentoring and coaching, it was honoured by Tata Institute of Social Sciences at the TISS Leapvault CLO awards on Friday. In a chat with Express, the veteran shooter talked about his own and the foundation’s plans. It was soon after his stupendous performance at the 2010 CWG in Delhi, where he grabbed four gold medals, that he decided to start a sports promotion foundation. “After CWG, a lot of parents would approach me seeking guidance for their kids. To address the issue, I thought of starting the foundation.It was a way of giving back to the game, which has given me so much in life and the foundation started in 2011, ” the 34-year-old said on Saturday. Narang considers making the sport accessible his foundation’s biggest success. “Shooting is expensive. A gun costs anywhere between Rs 2.5-3 lakh. There is an entry-level barrier even for talented people. We provide trainees everything, from guns to jackets at a fee of Rs 5, 500. To remove the cost barrier is the best feeling, ” said Narang, who is preparing for the upcoming Commonwealth Shooting Championship and Asian Air Gun Championship.The 17 GFG academies have trained about 3, 500 students till now. “German gun manufacturer, Walther, has helped by providing guns free of cost.” Around two months ago, a new initiative — Project Leap — was started to identify next generation shooters who could be medal prospects at international events. Under the watchful eyes of Narang, 23 shooters from different parts of the country were selected after selection trials involving physical and technical skills.“These shooters will be fully funded. The total cost is estimated to be around Rs 1.2 crore, ” Narang noted. Asked who the future stars from the GFG academies could be, he said, “Youngsters like Mahima (Agarwal), Shreya (Agarwal) and Elavenil are already a part of the junior Indian team.” Shreya won silver at the recently concluded KSS Memorial Shooting Championship. What’s next? “We already have two academies here. A third one, in association with Sports Authority of Telangana State (SATS), named SATS-GFG Shooting Academy will be launched soon, ” Narang revealed.
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Project LEAPLEAP is a unique multi phased project designed for Indian shooters to facilitate improved performance at National & International Level. The project will help the selected shooters to take a leap in various parameters of performance i.e. Technical, Physical & Mental aspects of the sportThe core objective of the program is to improve the performance of the Shooters. The program will specifically delve into the details of the various performance attributes involved for a sustained high level performance of the Shooters. LEAP is expected to inspire shooters to understand the virtue of pre-eminence and become part of a culture of striving for excellence.SelectionShooters from the Junior and Youth Category who have participated in the Nationals and qualified for Selection Trials were considered for the programme; however, shooters with a proven track record and recommendation by coaches were also being given an opportunity to be part of the selection process.The selection process was done after stages of screening and assessment through various Metacognative, Neurocognitive, Physical tests and two back to back matches. A combination of results from the tests and the scores in the matches formed the basis of the selection of the final shooters for the project.A team of 12 rifle shooters and 10 Pistol shooters got selected through the robust selection process for the program for the first year. This is an ongoing programme till 2024 and weeding out and further selection is to be carried out on an annual basis as per assessments and evaluations.TrainingSelected participants will undergo a specially designed coaching curriculum under the International coaches, mental and physical trainers with five separate camps conducted for the Rifle and Pistol Shooters separately for duration of 12 days each. These camps focus will be on specific improvement areas like Technique, Body Balance & Position, Endurance & Stress, as well as competition preparation. In between the camps, shooters would return to their respective GFG home ranges and follow the program given by the foreign coaches under the mentorship of the senior coaches in the team and monitored via GFG software and Athlete Monitoring System. Dietary supervision will also be carried out and shooters will be educated about diet chart and well informed choices will be suggested as per individual life style. A Performance Manager is to oversee the progress of the shooters as well as the project in entirety.The programme will also initiate self-monitoring aspect educating shooters plan career/long term sport options, increased knowledge on hydration and nutrition, focus on preparation for different environments, refine injury prevention, restand recovery strategies, promote ongoing personal development and focus on integration of sport, career and life goals addressing economic and independence issues by developing integrated support network/structure.The monitoring process reflected in this project involves the assessment of implementation of six core capacitiesMental strengthEnduranceScorePhysical fitnessUp-gradation and fine tuning of the technical skillsPhysiological aspects
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