Indian badminton legend Prakash Padukone on Tuesday said that there is an increasing need for more competent coaches in the country to complement the sport’s exponential growth.

Stating that the popularity of the sport has sky-rocketed since PV Sindhu’s Olympic silver medal last year, the former All England Open champion felt that it has also led to a demand for good quality coaches in the country.

“There is a shortage of coaches, no question about that,” Padukone said, addressing the media at the launch of the 10th edition of the Tata Open India International Challenge in Mumbai. “There is a growth in popularity of the sport across the country, but we don’t have the requisite number of coaches.”

Padukone called for the Badminton Association of India and the Sports Authority of India to hold coach training programmes along the lines of the one started by the Olympic Gold Quest for shooting and badminton.

“We have some very good coaches but unfortunately they don’t get the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge or keep pace with the international level,” he said. “If this growth of badminton has to continue, we need to focus a lot on coach education programmes, especially in the tier 2 and tier 3 cities.”

He added, “The best way to do that would be to get a foreign coach only to train the [Indian] coaches. “In one year if we can get 50-100 [Indian] coaches trained across the country, that will make a big impact in revolutionising the growth of Indian badminton.”

Player burnout

Padukone also addressed the matter of player burnout by participating in one too many tournaments across the year. World No 3 K Srikanth had recently pulled out of the China Open and Hong Kong Open Superseries citing an injury sustained while playing the senior Nationals earlier this month. He subsequently lost out on the chance to rise to world No 1.

Asked if Indian players are taking part in the required number of tournaments, Padukone said, “Maybe more than required,” before adding that it is important to strike the right balance between time spent training and playing tournaments.

“You cannot expect the world federation to reduce the number of tournaments in a year, so the players have to choose – that’s also an art,” he said. “Indian players need to be little careful not to play too many tournaments. While ranking is important, it is not the only thing. If your ranking goes down for one or two weeks, it’s fine,” he added.