It was 2004, when I got into IIT Roorkee & I still vividly remember how I felt, when I first walked passed by LBS (our cricket stadium) seeing other students practice in the nets. Having played a little professional cricket at the state level, I immediately felt the urge to play for my institute and win at the Inter IIT level. However, when I showed up at the practice the next day, my hopes were quashed as I was told that our institute had never went passed beyond the first round. Walks in Pandey sir – our cricket coach. He asked me what my speciality was and asked me to pad up. After the knock he told me that I should be regular at the sessions and give my best if I wanted to be a part of the Institute team as he wanted to build a special team & ‘believed’ that we had a good chance at winning the cup if we worked really hard. It got me thinking that he must be really optimistic or a total dreamer, considering the record of the team in the past. 

The practice sessions got tougher and started demanding a lot of time, dedication and commitment. I had to let go of lots of things and spend the evenings on the field. One thing that really inspired me was the dedication of Pandey sir himself. He himself never missed a session, bowled himself to most of the important batsmen of the team and asked bowlers to bowl at him as well. Ran equally hard with the team and did every drill along with the team. This was for the first time I was witnessing the importance of the coach in my life. We no doubt had a very strong line up and a very committed and an inspiring captain. But all the pieces of the story were stitched by Pandey sir from selection of the team to the drills to the after match hang outs. It was his leadership and his coaching which assisted us in winning the cup for the first time. He created such a high calibre team that we repeated the feat next year as well. That’s the importance of a coach, the impact created by the coach that 10 years hence I still believe those matches were one of the best days (and certainly memorable) of my life.

It’s the coach who stands by the side of his team and pushes them to the limit. It’s the coach who helps them resists temptations and do the right thing, makes them accountable. He guides the team in fighting ‘the good fight‘. What Fight? You may ask. Yes, its a fight. Whatever your dreams are, you always have to fight to achieve them. You will always find numerous obstacles – some external but mostly internal. Everything said and done, it boils down to the fight with the person in the mirror. We are our own biggest enemies & we all are fighting our own ‘good fight‘ in our lives. This is where the role of a coach can make all the difference. A coach acts like ‘Krishna’ to the ‘Arjuna’ in the battlefield, showing him the right path always, pushing him to his limits and guiding him to do the right thing. This makes all the difference, when the stakes are high. So here is big thank you to all the coaches out there & to all who are fighting their good fights.