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Building a Robust Sporting Ecosystem in India

The Need for Capacity Building & Upskilling Programs


In this thought leadership article, Imran Nadaph - Vice President for High-Performance Sports at ELMS Sports Foundation - discusses the need for capacity building and upskilling programs for sports coaches, administrators, and other stakeholders in Indian sports to create a sustainable ecosystem that nurtures talent and fosters a culture of excellence. ELMS Sports Foundation offers the High-Performance Leadership Program and the High-Performance Coach Development Program to enhance the professional development of sports professionals in India.

India has a rich sporting culture that dates back thousands of years. From the ancient sport of wrestling to modern-day cricket, sports have always been an integral part of Indian society. India has produced many legendary athletes who have brought glory to the nation. However, despite the rich history of sports in India and the recent positive developments, we still have a long way to go in terms of establishing a robust and sustainable sporting ecosystem that consistently supports our athletes to compete and win against the best in the world.


As sports enthusiasts, we all want to see our nation emerge as a powerhouse in the world of sports. But how do we make this happen? How do we create a sustainable ecosystem that nurtures talent, promotes fair play, and fosters a culture of excellence? These are questions that have been on my mind ever since I started my journey in sports administration. And the more I delve into this topic, the more convinced I am that capacity-building and upskilling programs are critical to achieving this vision.


As the Vice President for High-Performance Sports at ELMS Sports Foundation, I have had the privilege of working closely with some of the brightest minds in the sports industry. What I have learned is that building a strong foundation for Indian sports requires a multi-pronged approach.


We need to focus on infrastructure development, talent identification, athlete welfare, and grassroots programs. But above all, we need to invest in the professional development of sports coaches, administrators, and other stakeholders. That's why at ELMS Sports Foundation, we have partnered with Loughborough University, UK [voted The Best University for Sport in the World by QS World University Rankings for six consecutive years (2017-2022)], and Abhinav Bindra Foundation to offer two flagship programs:

1. The High-Performance Leadership Program

2. The High-Performance Coach Development Program

Our flagship program, the High-Performance Leadership Program, is designed to enhance the management and leadership capabilities of sports administrators and other key stakeholders from India's High-Performance ecosystem. We believe that strong leadership and management skills are essential to building sustainable sports organizations that can support athletes and coaches to achieve their full potential.


Through this program, we provide participants with a range of learning opportunities to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to lead their organizations effectively. Over four consecutive editions of this program, we have already seen participation from close to 150 mid to senior-level professionals representing various sporting organizations in India. Another critical aspect of building a strong sporting ecosystem is investing in coach development. Coaches are the backbone of any sports program, and it is essential to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to support their athletes. That's why we offer the High-Performance Coach Development Program, which provides high-quality coach development, learning, and leadership opportunities for high-performance coaches and performance specialists working at the school, college, club, and professional levels in India.


The Coach Development Program is a comprehensive training program that goes beyond the technical aspects of coaching and covers a range of topics, including athlete development, sports science, and advanced interpersonal and leadership skills. The program is designed to equip coaches with the skills and knowledge they need to develop their athletes to the best of their ability, while also supporting their own professional development. The program aims to help coaches improve their coaching skills, develop a deeper understanding of their athletes, and create a culture of excellence in their teams.


We are proud to have successfully completed the first edition of the Coach Development Program in March 2023. The cohort of 32 coaches representing a wide variety of sports and experience levels came away with new skills and a renewed sense of purpose, ready to take their coaching to the next level.


Together, these two programs have already had a significant impact on the professional development of sports professionals in India, and we are excited to see what the future holds.


As we look towards the future, we invite interested coaches to apply for the second edition of the Coach Development Program, which is scheduled to start in June 2023. We are committed to providing high-quality learning and development opportunities for sports professionals in India, and we believe that our programs can play a significant role in building a strong and sustainable sporting ecosystem. We encourage coaches, administrators, and other stakeholders to join us in this mission and take advantage of the learning opportunities we offer.


Together, we can create a future where India is known as a global powerhouse in sports, and our athletes are celebrated for their excellence on the world stage.



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