Fitness in today’s sporting world goes hand in hand if one aspires to achieve desired goals. We have seen Indian cricket team’s captain Virat Kohli’s work out regime which has taken his game to a different level. However, in recent times, foreign coaches have often complained about the physical and psychological fitness of Indian players. Football coach Stephen Constantine recently wrote in his autobiography that when he joined the Indian football team, he was shell-shocked to see their approach and poor performance.
While the format of the fifth season of Pro Kabaddi has been modified and will be played across three months. During a brief interaction with Indianexpress.com, Gujarat Fortunegiants’ physiotherapists Sameep Sanjiv Shah and coach Manpreet Singh revealed the current scenario of fitness among the Indian players and what separates them from the overseas players.
Coach Manpreet Singh
Every game has its own diet. You can’t get wrestling’s diet into kabaddi and one can’t expect kabaddi player follow cricketers diet. Every game requires a different diet structure, different body fitness. Kabaddi is a mixture of three games – wrestling, judo and athletics – and in this you have to have endurance. Brick muscles are important, the body must be flexible like that of gymnasts. We simply can’t put a kabaddi player on juices, or only on proteins. You need to give the right amount of proteins, carbs (carbohydrates), supplements. And this is when the role of coaches, physio, trainer to look after his diet.
Earlier, we didn’t have facilities in Kabaddi. We played in mud, and there was no trainer, physio, and coach used to do all the jobs. But, today we have every facility and technology possible. Now, a player is being guided and worked upon his prior injuries is done. Joints are more prone to injuries in a sport like kabaddi. When we organise a camp before the season, a lot of work is done on players fitness. Trainers put a lot of efforts to increase player’s power, where as physio makes sure that muscles are not tight ahead of the match to avoid any injury.
We had a 25-day preparatory camp in SAI Gandhinagar where in the first week we assessed them through medical tests. In the second week, we sat together and made charts for every player. In the remaining two weeks, we worked upon their previous injuries, increasing their endurance, stamina. Even the Iranian players joined us for the camp.
Physiotherapists Sameep Sanjiv Shah
As a Physiotherapist, I believe our hands are enough but when you are playing tournaments like IPL, ISL, I-League, and PKL, the body is prone to injuries. Thus the market has introduced so many types of equipment like for muscle recovery. We have game reading, recovery boots (used in football as well). All these machines help us reduce the recovery period of a player.
Physio’s role is to diagnose the injury. Once the basic diagnosis is done, we do a clinical assessment if it is a joint injury. And in joint injury, surrounding structures will be involved too. After analysing the actual reason behind the injury we use joint mobilisation like mfr (medical first responder)is used.
Pre-season is all about basic assessments. Trainer, coaches sit together and discuss the strengths, endurance of each player. After getting their basic assessments, we particularly work to turn their weaknesses into their strengths.
Foreign players are introduced to pre-season, diet, fitness at a very early stage whereas in Indian players are introduced to all this very late. We see footballers going through medical tests and play pre-season tournaments so that their bodies are ready for long tiring seasons. The concept of having a pre-season or preparatory camps has begun here.
Physio’s job on rest days
Our focus is on to have the player fit for the next match. There are plenty of electrical modalities being used to promote healing of body parts. In order to provide relief from swelling or pain, IFC, Neuromuscular stimulation, ultrasound, recovery boots, ice baths and many more techniques are being used.
Generally on a match day, stretching and pool sessions are conducted. But on rest days, we go for modalities like recovery boots or ice baths. We emphasise on improving the blood circulation. Manually a player needs around 48 hours but with recovery boots, which works on ‘pure air compression’ concept, it decreases the time to 24 hours.
Wherein ice bath or GRM work on micro injuries, muscle tears. Such methods are used right after the matches. In addition, we have foam loading, stretching, swimming pool recovery and wax recovery baths. I personally feel that we should rather work on prevention than curing them.
Also, sleep plays a major role in recovery. A player ideally should get a sleep of 7-8 hours. Certain hormones are released while sleeping thus minimising the recovery span.