Kabaddi might not rank among one of the popular sports in India, but the skill sets required to play the sport extend well beyond the game. Playing Kabaddi is akin to practising yoga, where players control their mind and body through self-control and concentration. In fact, it is one of the few sports that combine elements of yoga with strenuous physical activity. In an interview, coach Pro-Kabaddi League team Puneri Paltan Ashok Shinde explains how practising Kabaddi can make you a better person, at work, and beyond. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. The game requires you to chant the word ‘Kabaddi’ over and over again without taking a breath. How does the breathing aspect help you deal with stressful situations in work life?
A. Overcome fear
Yoga plays an integral part in Kabaddi. The raider has to enter the opponent’s court chanting the word “Kabaddi” while holding his breath and has to continue doing so until he returns to his home court. This is known as ‘Cant’, which is closely related to “Pranayama” of yoga. While Pranayama is about withholding breath in order to exercise internal organs, ‘Cant’ is the means to withhold your breath while doing vigorous physical activity. This is perhaps one of the few sports to combine yoga with strenuous physical activity. Yoga helps you to access inner strength that allows you to face overwhelming fears, frustrations, and challenges of everyday life.
Q. Kabaddi is a versatile game which requires you to run, kick, dodge the opponents. These are skills that are essential to the game. How can people make these skill sets work for them in everyday life?
A: Enhance your presence of mind
To boost our productivity, many of us multitask to some degree. And, in a world where the pace of life is often frenetic, people who can multitask are typically seen as efficient and effective. The game calls for proactiveness, presence of mind, team management, SWOT analysis, physical strength, crisis management and understanding opponent’s strategy.
Q. Kabaddi is played quickly with players having to move and think extremely fast. Do you think this can enable team managers to assess a situation quicker and gauge the advantages and disadvantages of a situation and make quick decisions?
A. Pay attention to small things
The game calls for agility, good lung capacity, muscular co-ordination, presence of mind and quick responses. For a single player to take on seven opponents is no mean task, requires dare as well as an ability to concentrate and anticipate the opponent’s moves. Forecasting capacity and practice helps you understand the situation and act quickly at the right time and with right decisions. You need to start paying attention to small little things. One can’t be sitting on it. It’s how you get trained for crisis and risk management in your top B-schools. One needs to compose himself and be prepared for any situation and act wisely in those tensed circumstances.
Q. What are the prerequisites of a great team leader? How does Kabbadi help in instilling virtues of a capable team player?
A. Fighting with the right spirit is important
A good team leader should possess the ability to gauge advantages and disadvantages of a given situation and make quick decisions. A leader should not just think about his growth but also about enhancing the team performance. Fighting with the right spirit is important. The CANT in Kabaddi has a close relationship with pranayama of yoga. A research brought out that fast and shallow breathers are easily excitable whereas slow and deep breathers are calm and cool with a longer lifespan. The research concludes that in kabaddi the internal organ, i.e. respiration, is exercised along with external organs resulting in a sound mind in a strong body which is the ultimate aim of sports. Many physical educationists and experts have conducted several experiments on the relation of cant and its impact on a player. Tests conducted on kabaddi and non-kabaddi players have established the fact that kabaddi players have more vital capacity than non-kabaddi players.