A one-stop shop - encompassing everything related to Sports and High Performance in India! From experiences and interviews with athletes and coaches to discussions on topics ranging from sports science, nutrition, psychology, strength and conditioning, injury rehabilitation and long term athletic development.
Pedagogy and Psychographics : in conversation with Rama Reddy
Our next guest on the podcast is writer, educator and combat sports specialist, Mr Rama Reddy. He is well known in the industry as an instructor, educator, combat sports commentator and founder of MMA gyms and organisations. Rama has combined his passion for education and love for martial arts to create pedagogies for coaching and training the various combat sports.
In this episode, Rama discusses his journey into combat sports and the role that his background in education has played throughout.
He also delves into a new and interesting concept that he has been working on, called Athlete Psychographics. This concept represents various archetypes of athletes that can be applied across all sports and competition, and how that plays out in their approach to tactics, preparation and technique. This gives us an insight into how we may train the different archetypes as coaches and instructors.
We also discuss the effects of COVID on combat sports and the ways in which Rama and his team are getting around it.
Please refer to Rama's post on Instagram (@ramareddy.mma) for further details and an illustration of the Psychographics. Be sure to check out Rama's work on pedagogies and other content such as blogs and articles on a wide variety of topics based on martial arts and education.
0:28 - Rama’s introduction and his journey into the Combat Sports industry.
03:12 - “Education is the tool that allows civilization to be civilization.”
His reflection upon the pedagogical and technical shortcomings that were present at the time of introduction to wrestling. The Dan Gable Effect and a small account of wrestling around the World.
10:35 - Rama’s venture into other sports and the importance of an athletic culture from a young age.
14:20 - Introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
15:20 - “I’ve always been interested by Conflict and Combat.” The primal aspect of grappling.
18:53 - Touching upon the misinterpretation of martial arts as violence.
19:12 - “Violence requires victimisation, it requires a lack of consent.” Love fighting, hate violence!
20:30 - Filler
22:12 - Rama’s advent of creating pedagogical systems for coaches to understand how context plays a role in training.
27:50 The 4 Rs of Rama - Relevance, Relationship, Rigour = Results.
29:02 - “If something is too easy - people get bored; if it’s too difficult - people get bored because it’s overwhelming.”
32:45 - “The wrong technique at the right time, is the right technique.”
33:40 - An example of how a constraints-led approach can recreate relevant contexts in fighting.
37:50 - Athlete Psychographics (episode thumbnail) - Rama delves into the archetypes that he has developed by creating axes to better understand competitors.
*Please refer to the post on Rama’s Instagram page (@ramareddy.mma)
“The competitor (spike) is most likely to find the most effective way as quickly as possible.”
48:30 - What separates brawling from fighting.
51:44 - The other aspects of the Psychographic and how to perceive them as coaches.
56:20 - The effects of COVID on the industry and ways to get around it.
1:03:43 - Adding another axis to the Psychographic and how it can affect the pedagogy - building a 3 dimensional approach to it.
Less is More! - in conversation with Mon Brokman
Our next guest on the show is Performance Coach, Mr Nimrod 'Mon' Brokman.
Mon is the co-founder of Behavioural Foresight - a company in the field of Behavioural Science and Psychology that provides a holistic approach to the health of body and mind. In this episode, Rohan (Exercise Physiologist) and Gana (Sports Scientist), discuss with Mon about the various experiences that have shaped his approach while working with athletes and clients - from the encounters in the Israel Defense Forces and as a former professional athlete himself.
We also delve into the Flow state of mind and how the integration of ancient methodologies and modern technology can help us achieve this state of mind and improve our well being .
Overall we had a fun and insightful conversation and we thank Mon for his time and sharing his experience with us.
01:22 - Mon’s introduction and the story behind Behavioural Foresight. Exploration of the mind and its connection with the body.
04:07 - "Sport is for your education and self-exploration."
04:59 - Mon's own journey as an athlete. The importance of responsibility and learning it through sports. The importance of a multi-sport environment as a child.
14:14 - "Sports open up the many ways something can be learnt." It gives us the confidence and self identity to overcome obstacles.
15:52 - Ability to handle stress - experiences in the military and how it helps Mon work with the athletes now.
18:32 - "Whatever you know in life, you don't really know!"
20:32 - Main goal with every client - "If he or she can manage uncertainty, they can manage everything."
22:15 - "The only way to expand your comfort zone, is to enjoy discomfort."
24:02 - "Once you are aware, what do you do with it?" Bringing about awareness and support it with discipline.
25:55 - "A quick judgement shows a narrow perception."
26:46 - The FLOW state of mind - Creating your own suffering and letting go.
35:19 - Differences between the Eastern and Western methods of finding flow and applying them in various contexts. The importance of Science and Technology in improving mental performance.
38:17 - How Mon found a similarity between Vipassana and the Military.
43:51 - The strongest effect in mental performance. Activating a healing effect through perception.
46:15 - How stress can be your friend and work for you in unimaginable ways
47:48 - The 10,000 hour rule and an elaborate explanation of the FLOW state.
50:05 - "To habituate something you can't cut out the struggle."
50:48 - "Letting go is the most crucial phase."
54:38 - "If you let go of all past experiences and future hopes, your moment becomes more rich."
56:54 - The importance of recovery - keeping the quality of performance, high.
59:20 - Is more better?
1:00:33 - "Less is more; the minimum to the maximum." How less we can do to make the biggest impact
Ninjutsu - the martial art where movement is done with bare intention.
1:02:15 - "Most of us are trying to so much and finally end doing less."
"Mind control is about doing less!"
Part 2 - Variation. Focus. Intensity. - Balachandran Manikkath
In part two of our conversation with Balu sir, we discuss the various mental and tactical factors involved in professional coaching and how it impacts the athlete on and off the court. He highlights the importance of instilling autonomy in children and how that translates to performance later on in their careers.
Balu sir kept it light with a few memorable stories from the camps and tours whilst also providing an insight into the importance of coaching education and a few ways in which the art of coaching can be established to translate into high performance on the court.
There is something for everyone in this podcast and we hope you enjoy it! Thanks and stay tuned!
01:10 - The key assessments made to address specific needs for the athlete - tactical, mental or technical.
01:56 - "I try to change a technical part through tactical intention."
05:55 - Mindset changes on and off the court - "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde"
10:32 - Creating situations in practice by simulating game-like scenarios and addressing the multiple psychological factors.
11:55 - The difference between Clinical and Sports Psychology. The importance of travel for an athlete's mental development.
19:05 - Exposure and the effect of experiential learning in instilling autonomy in a junior athlete.
21:55 - A short story from tour featuring Rohan Bopanna!
25:15 - Experience with S&C coach Christian Bosse and the importance of an integrative set -up for player development.
30:45 - "The children see the coaches talking in the same language and voice, which made everybody comfortable and work towards the same goal."
31:00 - Stories from camps and the tour!
36:32 - The long term athletic development program. Creating a tournament structure and multiple facets of training.
41:35 - Methods implemented during long weeks on tour and the importance of keeping it light! Alternative methods of bringing about independence and decision-making.
42:55 - "You're good with this rubbish, you talk a lot of nonsense."
50:00 - An account of the light atmosphere maintained during the camps and tours.
51:35 - IMPORTANT - The significance of coaching education. "Coaching is a combination of Science and Art!"
1:02:50 - Allowing the kids to be creative and being their own genius.
1:03:35 - "We only help tennis players get better, champions are made by themselves."
01:05:40 - "Actually I was very intense off-court when I started coaching."
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Variation. Focus. Intensity. - Balachandran Manikkath (Part 1)
Our next guest on the podcast is renowned Indian tennis coach, Mr Balachandran Manikkath. Popularly known as Balu sir to the Indian tennis fraternity, he has coached many successful tennis players over the years - Rohan Bopanna and Radhika Tulpule in the past and is currently working with top Indian players, most notably, men’s national champion Nikki Poonacha and Davis Cup players - Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.
Balu sir is a former National doubles champion himself and is also an international travel coach, accompanying the top Indian tennis players at various ITF and ATP tournaments, including the Grand Slams. His passion lies in creating future tennis stars with the integration of strength and conditioning, education and long term athletic development. This integrative approach to high performance and the robust experience of coaching top players has made him a well acclaimed coach in professional tennis around the globe.
In part 1, the topics discussed range from Balu sir's personal introduction to tennis, the evolution of the sport, the importance of creating the right environment for youth development and building a diverse technical vocabulary in tennis players. This conversation provides a deep insight into a coach's perspective and the intricacies involved in developing tennis stars of the future.
Please stay tuned for part 2 of this podcast, coming up in our next episode. Thanks!
2:00 - Balu Sir's introduction.
3:53 - Starting out as a tennis player and the influence others had on him.
7:06 - The role of a family as a support system and establishing personal independence in the children.
13:39 - The evolution of tennis and the importance of access to information.
17:30 - What to look for in a child, assessing future potential and sustaining interest.
20:31 - Diversification of youth sports and exposure to multiple sports at a young age.
32:07 - The importance of variation in the technical arsenal of a successful tennis player.
35:55 - The advent of video analysis of tennis matches and the gaps to be filled.
49:20 - The sport personality pyramid. "They are children who play tennis, not tennis players who are also your children."
51:24 - Link between practice and the perseverance in a match. Importance of training and pushing through discomfort.
54:15 - Significance of an integrative support system for athletes . The need for development of data in India.
"The mind of a beginner" - in conversation with Vanitha VR!
Our first guest on the show is senior Karnataka state and Indian women's cricketer, Vanitha VR.
Well known for her explosive batting style and lively personality, Vanitha was eager to delve into everything that has shaped her into the person she is now - from her early days, to the injuries and setbacks that she has overcome and learnt from as well as the continuous reinvention of herself!
Our host, director and high performance coach at Invictus, Varun Shetty, discusses with Vanitha about the various factors behind high performance in modern athletes and some common misconceptions about training and nutrition.
We dive deep into the mindset that Vanitha has formed through her vast experience and her boundless pursuit of high performance. She also provides an account of what's next in store for her as well as the influence that mentors have had throughout her career.
During this insightful conversation, you will come across the following :-
2:50 - Vanitha the cricketer. Overcoming the adversities during development. Self confidence and leadership.
10:40 - "Ultimate athletes" - setbacks, comebacks and success. The role of responsibilities in Vanitha's career.
15:25 - Forming the mindset, common misconceptions of training and the boons of the internet.
20:50 - Deep dive into Vanitha's childhood and what made her a "naturally talented" athlete.
29:25 - The "mind of a beginner". - living in the moment and continuous reinvention.
38:34 - Aesthetics vs Performance - the effect of training and nutrition on high performance.
51:16 - The bright side of the lockdown and coping with a pandemic.
56:01 - A surprise! - learning to be bold and her attitude towards learning.
1:00:47 - What's next for Vanitha - future plans and building awareness.
1:06:00 - Gratitude towards mentors and their influence on her career.