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  • Imran Nadaph

INDIAN SPORTS ISCHANGING FORTHE BETTER

Leaders need to embrace a culture of continuous learning and excellence



This article by Imran Nadaph, Vice President for High Performance Sports at ELMS Sports Foundation, emphasizes the importance of capability building in Indian sports, calling for robust programs to empower human resources and drive India's sporting summit. It also encourages sports professionals and enthusiasts to continuously learn and develop, aiming to propel Indian sports to new heights and create a lasting legacy.



India’s performance in sports has been on an upward trajectory in recent years. The Tokyo Olympics 2020 was a watershed moment for Indian sports, as the country achieved its highest medal tally ever with seven medals, including one gold. The Asian Games 2022 was another milestone for Indian sports, as the country crossed the remarkable mark of 100 medals for the first time in its history. These achievements have not only brought glory and pride to the nation but also inspired thousands of young Indians to take up sports as a passion and a profession.


India has a huge potential to become a multi-sport powerhouse in the world, given its large population, diverse talent pool, rich sporting heritage, and growing interest and awareness among its people. However, to realize this potential, India needs to address some of the challenges and gaps that exist in its sports ecosystem. The sports ecosystem is a complex network of interrelated and interdependent elements that influence and shape the development and growth of sports in a country. These elements include infrastructure, facilities, equipment, training, coaching, research, innovation, funding, governance, regulation, promotion, participation, inclusion, diversity, ethics, and welfare.


To further strengthen its sports ecosystem and create an enabling environment that fosters excellence and a culture of sportsmanship, India needs a collective and collaborative effort from all stakeholders involved in its sports ecosystem. These stakeholders include national and state governments, federations and associations, private and nonprofit organizations, sports academies and schools, managers, coaches, sports scientists, and athletes. Each stakeholder has a specific role and responsibility in enhancing the quality and quantity of various elements of the sports ecosystem.


As such one of the key solutions to unlocking the future potential of Indian sports while continuing to deliver results in the short term is investing in the capability building of our current and future sports professionals. Sports organizations need to design and implement effective learning and development programs for their human resources to prepare them for the increasing demands that will be placed on them to support the achievement of our sporting ambitions.


For this solution to be effective, the focus should be on 3 key strategies:

  1. Empowering stakeholders with advanced courses for subject matter expertise.

  2. Creating comprehensive programs for a holistic grasp of the sports ecosystem and a nuanced understanding of stakeholder roles in effective collaboration.

  3. Crafting innovative education models and learning pathways to equip stakeholders with AI and tech skills for sports advancement.

In this article, we will explore each of these strategies in detail and provide examples of how they can be implemented in practice.



Strategy 1: Empowering stakeholders with advanced courses for subject matter expertise

One of the key aspects of capability building is enhancing the knowledge and skills of each stakeholder in their respective domains. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for advanced courses that allow them to gain subject matter expertise. Subject matter expertise refers to having a deep understanding of a specific topic or field that enables one to perform tasks or solve problems effectively.


Subject matter expertise can help stakeholders improve their performance by:

  • Increasing their confidence and credibility

  • Enhancing their creativity and innovation

  • Enabling them to identify opportunities and challenges

  • Facilitating their communication and collaboration with others

  • Supporting their professional growth and development

Some of the ways that stakeholders can gain subject matter expertise are:

  • Enrolling in formal education programs (e.g., degrees or diplomas) offered by universities or colleges that specialize in sports-related fields

  • Participating in professional development programs or workshops (e.g., certificates or modules) offered by professional bodies or organizations that provide training or accreditation in specific topics or skills

  • Engaging in self-directed learning (e.g., online courses or resources) offered by various platforms or sources that provide access to relevant information or content

  • Seeking mentorship or coaching (e.g., from experts or peers) offered by individuals or groups that have experience or knowledge in specific domains or fields

Strategy 2: Creating comprehensive programs for a holistic grasp of the sports ecosystem and a nuanced understanding of stakeholder roles in effective collaboration.

Another key aspect of capability building is developing a holistic understanding of the sports ecosystem and a nuanced understanding of the role each stakeholder plays for effective collaboration. A holistic understanding refers to having a comprehensive view of the various elements and factors that influence and shape the sports ecosystem. A nuanced understanding refers to having a detailed and specific view of the expectations and responsibilities of each stakeholder within the sports ecosystem.


A holistic and nuanced understanding can help stakeholders improve their performance by:

  • Increasing their awareness and appreciation of the complexity and diversity of the sports ecosystem

  • Enhancing their adaptability and flexibility to changing situations and needs

  • Enabling them to align their goals and actions with the shared vision for an enabling sports ecosystem

  • Facilitating their communication and collaboration with other stakeholders

  • Supporting their contribution and value addition to the sports ecosystem

For example, sports administrators and managers can benefit from having a holistic understanding of the sports ecosystem by being able to plan, organize, coordinate, monitor, evaluate, and improve various aspects of sports such as infrastructure, facilities, equipment, funding, governance, regulation, promotion, etc. They can also benefit from having a nuanced understanding of their role as managers by being able to define their objectives, strategies, policies, procedures, standards, etc.


Some of the ways that stakeholders can develop a holistic and nuanced understanding are:


  • Attending professional development programs (e.g. ELMS Sports Foundation’s High Performance Leadership Program) that offer a systems-thinking approach to understanding the key factors contributing to sporting success and building management and leadership capabilities in the niche and evolving area of high performance sports.

  • Participating in cross-functional or interdisciplinary programs (e.g., projects or assignments) offered by sports organizations or institutions that provide an opportunity to work or interact with other stakeholders from different domains or fields

  • Engaging in experiential learning (e.g., internships or placements) offered by sports organizations or institutions that provide an opportunity to observe or practice in real-life settings or scenarios

  • Seeking feedback or evaluation (e.g., from mentors or peers) offered by sports organizations or institutions that provide an opportunity to reflect or improve on one’s performance or behaviour.

Strategy 3: Equipping Stakeholders with AI and tech skills for sports advancement

The third crucial aspect of capability building focuses on providing the necessary skills and competencies to harness the growing potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and technological advancements in sports. AI involves the simulation of human cognitive processes by machines, enabling them to perform tasks and problem-solving activities that typically demand human reasoning. Technological advances, on the other hand, encompass the development and enhancement of devices, methods, and processes aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of various aspects within the realm of sports.


Artificial intelligence and technological advances have the power to assist stakeholders in elevating their performance through several key avenues:

  • Boosting productivity and precision: AI and technology allow stakeholders to accomplish tasks with great efficiency and accuracy, thereby enhancing their overall productivity.

  • Fostering creativity and innovation: These tools can encourage creative problem-solving and innovative thinking, enabling stakeholders to devise novel solutions to sports-related challenges. Data access and analysis: The vast quantities of data generated in sports can be efficiently managed, analyzed, and transformed into valuable insights, enhancing decision-making processes.

  • Facilitating communication and collaboration: AI and technology promote effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders, ensuring a well-coordinated approach to sports-related initiatives.

  • Enhancing decision-making and problem-solving: These tools provide invaluable support in making informed decisions and solving complex problems that arise in sports contexts.


As an example, coaches and sports administrators can harness the power of AI and technological advancements to optimise athlete training, injury prevention, talent identification, and performance analysis. These applications enable them to make data-driven decisions, tailor training regimens, and enhance overall sports management, significantly advancing the performance and success of athletes and sports organisations.


Coaches and sports administrators can harness the power of AI and technological advancements to optimize athlete training, injury prevention, talent identification, and performance analysis

Conclusion

This article underscores that capability building is the linchpin to realizing the untapped potential of Indian sports, not just in the distant future, but in the present. For sporting institutions, it's a clarion call to embrace and implement robust capability-building programs. These programs will empower your human resources, unleashing their latent potential to drive India's ascent to the sporting summit.


For sports professionals and enthusiasts, this article should serve as an inspiration, reminding you that continuous learning and development are the true catalysts for personal and professional growth. Seize the opportunities available to enhance your knowledge and skills within your specific domains. Let's come together and propel Indian sports to uncharted heights, creating a legacy of excellence that will endure for generations to come. The time for action is now.




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