We kicked off proceedings for our series with some insights on what does the job of a Football Analyst entail. Now we switch gears to the sport of Kabaddi and it’s my pleasure to have onboard Mr. Aditya Kashyap. Aditya most recently worked with the Telugu Titans in the Pro Kabaddi League and he’s taken out some time to speak to us regarding analysis in his sport. Thank you for joining us, Aditya
Adi :The pleasure is all mine. I’d love to contribute in any way I can to shed some light on Kabaddi analysis.
Gau :That’s great! So, Aditya in your case you worked with a franchise so it’s not a year-round commitment. What is the job of a Kabaddi analyst who’s only joining in at some point before the season?
Adi: Well, so I joined in during training camp, for two weeks before the start of the season. We used to conduct two sessions daily, which were S&C (Strength and Conditioning) and Mat practice sessions. I was primarily involved with the mat practice sessions where I recorded the session with a camera after speaking with the coach. If he needed anything in particular from me, then he’d let me know at that point. They’d normally ask me to keep an eye on some particular player and analyse his movements and maybe zoom in on someone for some specific video clips. This was all about analysing our players.
Gau: Okay so that was mainly on the pre-season. What was it like around about the days leading up to the games during the season?
Adi :The focus at that time shifted towards our opponents and this is where my main role began. Either the day before or the morning of the game I’d conduct a video session with the team on Opponent analysis. Before this session, the coach would tell me what aspects are to be covered based on the data that I’d shown to him. Based on the chosen parameters, I’d show certain clips to the players while also ensuring that there were some patterns in these videos which I could point out to them.
Gau: So your primary responsibility during the season was opponent analysis?
Adi :Yes, I was the one who had seen the matches played by all our opponents so that was the primary role. Initially, I just used to show some clips from opposition games. Once we had a larger sample size, I would start sending notes to the coaches 2-3 days before the games regarding the strengths and weaknesses of our opposition. I would also mention any areas as well, where they have regressed or improved recently. This is what would drive our video sessions.
Gau :So in Kabaddi as we know you have no interaction with the coach during half-time. What happens after games then?
Adi : So during the journey back to the hotel, I would speak on what I observed during the game. If there were any points discussed pre-game, then how did it pan out. Something like if a player was struggling with ankle holds then how did he fare at it in this game. Then once back at the hotel, I and the Assistant Coach would analyze the match together. He would indicate certain things that we need to point out to a player, or the team as a whole the following day. Sometimes I would also be required to pick out certain clips of the game and send it to the players.
Gau :I see. Can you recall an occasion perhaps where your insight into a certain aspect of the team helped improve performance?
Adi :So I can recall one particular instance. One of our raiders suffered an injury to his left shoulder before the season, but we still had him on raids from either side. I noticed that he was getting out often in raids from the left earlier in the season and I pointed that out to the coaches with some data to back to it up. They then adapted to that, made some changes in training and the player’s performance improved substantially in the 2nd half of the season, which consequentially had a positive impact on the team.
Gau :Well it’s always nice to know that you had a significant impact on the performance of the team. So, Aditya would you have any suggestions to people who would be interested in getting into Kabaddi Analysis?
Adi :I would say knowledge of the game is very important and you have to be comfortable working with technology. Anyone can come in at a point and ask for your help regarding certain matters and you have to provide the solutions. Also, don’t try to force in any technical knowledge regarding the game from your side to the players as they rely on coaches for those inputs in general and I stayed out the way there as we already had two coaches. The last thing I’d say is that one must build a good rapport with the staff, as that would lay a good foundation which is very important during the season.
That’s some pretty good advice right there and with that, we conclude our 2nd interview of this series. I’m sure that the insights you’ve provided will greatly assist those who have an interest in this field of work. Thank you for your time! Check back in soon for our 3rd installment of “Insights into the Sports Industry”.
Interview and article by our content head – Gautam Varier