National badminton coach P. Gopi Chand, in a conversation with India off-spinner R. Ashwin on the show ‘DRS with Ash’, gave an insight into how seamlessly he transformed from a player to coach.
“After winning the All England title, I knew what it took to triumph at the international level,” Gopi Chand said.
“But I had a few injuries in 2002. I knew the formula needed to win but couldn’t use it on myself. So the only way to do it was to find other kids as I didn’t have the body to use it.”
The National coach added that the All England win helped him earn the trust of the kids when he began his second innings in the sport. “The win helped people trust me. Had I not won, it would have taken time. Especially in those initial years, it was critical. Whatever I said they believed.”
He explained further: “When you finish as a player, you are almost like hanging off a cliff. You need to decide how to fall. If you decide to jump off when you have the energy, you can bounce back and use that in your next career. I jumped into coaching and that gave me the energy moving forward.”
Gopi Chand also highlighted the role of coaches at different levels.
He recalled how Hamid Hussain helped him fall in love with the game when he was starting, how S.M. Arif sir brought in a sense of discipline when he was at the intermediate level, and how Prakash Padukone served as an inspiration and role model at the elite level.