Bahut sa izzat, pyar, maan yehi meri poonji hai, opens Sunita Sharma, a cricket coach and manager of India Women’s Cricket team. In early seventies when women generally picked up teaching as a career option, Sunita dared to dream. Not only she played cricket but also trained to be a coach.
At 22, she was the first woman cricket coach in the country. Having trained scores of men and women who have played at national and international levels, Sunita’s is a journey fraught with challenges, a woman trying to break into a male dominated arena and emerging victorious. She is pleasantly surprised each time when her students touch her feet whenever, wherever they meet. The feisty woman who is feted with the Dronacharya Award shares her success mantra:
Take family along
Family support matters most for any individual’s success. I lost my father when I was just four. My mother brought me up along with my brother and sisters and guided us. A sports girl to begin with, I was an athlete and played kho kho till my mother advised me to try cricket. Following her counsel, I was set to be a pacer. Despite modest means, my mother made sure that I got best of diet and enough rest after my workouts. My siblings never quibbled about house chores. Each one supported me in my journey especially my brother Rakesh Sharma. Luck followed me post marriage too. Now that work takes me out of home sometimes for a month long, my husband Dinesh fully cooperates and looks after our kids. Without your family support, it’s not easy to rise.
Put your heart to it
Sincerity and dedication to your chosen aim is first and foremost requirement. Unless you are ready to give your 100 per cent and more, you mustn’t expect results. Set a goal and follow it with all your heart not getting sidelined by distractions which are plenty in today’s scenario.
No matter what
Determination is another crucial characteristic to make it in sports. Technique, especially in a game like cricket, doesn’t come easy. Stick to it, and to one coach. There would be odds but you got to keep self motivated enough not to run away from the problems but to face them. When I started coaching kids, I would be teased, tested and ridiculed on an everyday basis. Not giving any attention to threatened competitors, I never wavered off my path.
It takes time
Slow and steady wins the race. Sports is one field where it might take years or even decades before anyone notices you. But you have to keep working on your game. Be regular, consistent to make a name here. I would advise stick to one coach who can bring out the best in you.
Sweat it out
Anyone wishing to pursue cricket, let me warn you first hand, if riches and fame are your targets, then there are other less demanding professions for that. As for cricket, you got to sweat it out. And I must add, strong academics is the key to success in any field. Even in a game one needs to strategise, to adapt, strong education helps one remain ahead in the game. And, a word of caution to parents who want their kids to become stars overnight, stay away from coaching shops that sell false promises. Let your ward stick to a trained coach who brings out the best in your ward.
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