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Head coach Narender Rana wants boxers to stay away from social media during competitions

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Head coach Narender Rana wants boxers to stay away from social media during competitions

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SportsCafe Desk

11/08/2021

India's boxing head coach Narender Rana seems to be a hard task-master and wants his wards to completely focus on their game, and does not want the pugilists to get distracted by the outside noise. It was for this very reason, he took away Akash Kumar's phone a day before the semi-final bout.

"I took his phone away after the quarterfinals because he was bombarded with calls and messages. Itni distraction mein rest kahan se hota, recovery kab hoti? I had to do it," Rana told PTI in an interview.

"Both his parents are no more and his uncle called me after being unable to reach him. I told him what I had done and even offered to let the boy talk to him. But his uncle said 'aapne kuch soch ke hi kiya hoga, bas usko hamari shubhkamnaayen de dena'," he recalled.

"See, social media should not interfere with you recovery time. If you are sleeping with a phone next to you, you will be distracted by it. And in a physical sport like boxing, good sleep is absolutely essential for recovery. How is that possible when you are just staring at your phone?" he said.

"I believe social media should be avoided during intense training and competitions. It is distracting," he added.

The men's boxing team had a disastrous campaign at Tokyo and Rana believes that the boys lack self-belief. "A lot of times pressure leads to negative performance and this is what happened to someone like Amit Panghal. He was world no.1, everybody was talking about him, and ultimately it had a negative impact on him," he said.

"I spoke to him after he came back from Tokyo and he told me 'sir, bohot pressure tha, nahi le paya'. As a coach, it would be my job to insulate the boxer in such circumstances and ensure that their belief in themselves remains intact, basically eliminate fear of failure. I told him and others also, don't brood over a loss, learn from it and that's what my approach would be...boxers trust us, not a psychologist who will come from outside. We know their lives, their routines like the back of our hands and I believe we (the coaches) can be the support system that will keep them in a good head space."

It is not just one aspect that Rana wants the Indians to improve upon. He wants them to adopt new techniques as well. "You have to show that you know your craft. During world championships, I saw so many bouts where power-punchers and aggressive punchers lost comprehensively to counter-attackers. Just throwing your arm around doesn't get you scores. Your feet should move in rhythm, turn on the style. Maarte jaane se bout nahi jeetoge, thoda perform karna padega, out-maneuver your opponents in counter-attacks," he said.

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