There is a sense of optimism in the Indian badminton circuit, which was unheard of a few years ago. There has indeed been a massive surge in growth of the sport in the country. This much-hyped rise of the game has led to a considerable amount of expectation on the record 21-man Indian contingent at the 2017 World Badminton Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. From fans to players to coaches, every single person at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow will keep an eye on all the Indians, who are slated to contest in every department.
While the singles clan has garnered all the accolades by putting their hands on the elusive Superseries and Superseries Premier titles this year, the doubles contingent has found itself struggling to find its feet at big events. However, India's doubles coach Tan Kim Her, who joined forces with national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand in 2016, believes that the doubles department has the confidence but must believe to show their worth at higher-level competitions.
"As compared to the past two years, the confidence has risen but the consistency is still not there yet. Sometimes, they (doubles players) can play brilliantly and sometimes they can go downhill. So, I am trying my level best to work on their consistency. I have been to Korea, England and Malaysia and they train in the same way as the Indians. The only difference is that the Indians must believe in themselves that they can play at the higher level. The shuttlers have undergone solid training sessions after the Canada and the US Open. We are ready to play now. Everything is good," said Tan.
The preparations for the world event has been in full swing at the Pullela Gopichand Academy in Hyderabad and one of the reasons for such rigorous training sessions has been Tan's planning and execution with the talented Indian bunch.
"There has been a lot of difference (since I joined). The shuttlers are happy after I decided the partners, after having a close look at their style of play. I only make changes which will prove to be best for them. I have explained to them about the important tournaments to look for and how it will help them in the rankings. Only a few shuttlers knew about this, but after I came, they know everything now," explained Tan.
"Things have paid off and you can see that this is the first time so many doubles pairs from India have qualified for the World Championships," he added.
The Malaysian coach is known to take special care of each and every doubles pair with his eyes firmly set on at least reaching the semi-finals in Glasgow. For that, Tan has chalked out a strategy to keep the doubles players in shape for tough challenges.
When asked about the changes in training drills, Tan said, "We have to keep changing the methods to have balance. Every three months, I would change the programme accordingly. Also, I am following the players wherever they are playing so that my team and I keep a track of the performances and note down the areas of improvement."
Sikki Reddy and Pranaav Jerry Chopra are a pair who has impressed Tan with skill, discipline and hard work.
"They (Sikki and Pranaav) can play at a higher level. I can even assure you that on their day, they can beat anyone in the world. After watching them go through the training, what I see now is that they are ready to step on the big events," said Tan.
The 45-year-old said he was also keeping a track of all the junior players at the academy to ensure high-quality badminton in coming years. "I need to improve their basics and build a foundation for them to excel with speed and power. Once they improve these elements then we focus on the skills. Now, the majority of them are physically strong. All they need to do now is improve on their technical side of the game on-court and combine well," Tan said.
Tan, who has coached some of the best teams around the world, further revealed how he kept the doubles group mentally focused before stepping out for one of the toughest tournaments in the sport.
"I just tell the players that take one match at a time and don't think too much because winning the World Championships is everybody's dream. The singles players (have) outperformed others and have started winning. All of them definitely stand a chance," he concluded.
Updated Date: Sep 25, 2017 20:23 PM