Mr. Kalaichelvan led the boys’ basketball team of NIT Trichy to victory in the Inter NIT tournament in NIT Warangal. Coming down to NITT’s court out of pure interest, he brought with him his knowledge and prior experience to share with the college’s team. The basketball team of NITT will be forever grateful to the brilliant coach and Team Feeds had the opportunity to interview him.
Q: Could you please give a brief introduction about yourself?
I am Kalaichelvan, the Tamil Nadu basketball coach. I’ve also worked at BHEL, and have since resigned from BHEL.
Q: What other sports have you played before?
In my school days, I used to play football. I used to represent TN state at the school level. After that, I played Kabaddi, as it is the country’s game. I used to play it in our village. In Kabaddi I represented the TN men’s side. After that, I played basketball. After that, I served as a coach for the TN team. We won the National Championship 5 times. I had joined with many foreign coaches. Because of basketball, due to sports quota, minimum 200 boys are now appointed by various banks, the police, and other such bodies. As far as I am concerned, playing basketball is a profession. Because of that, one can get an opportunity, a job opportunity, if you play the game in a serious manner.
Q: Please tell us about your experiences at the nationals?
A: In 2001 we played the first match in Delhi, then the second match in Bangalore, the third match in Ludhiana, the fourth match in Hyderabad, the fifth match in Ludhiana. We’ve played five matches, in various places of India.
Q: You have been a coach for a very long time, and have a lot of experience. What does it mean to be a coach? What kind of mindset should you have? How do you interact with the players?
See, everyone has the mindset to serve the people, the community. As far as I am concerned, with sports, we can attract more people, especially youngsters, and with the game of basketball, we can motivate them. Instead of preparing them as players, if you bring them up as good citizens of our country, we will be serving the country too.
Also, if an individual plays the game, any of his matches can turn out to be a defeat or a victory, so he can learn how to take the victory and also accept defeat in the same manner. He will learn how to bear it. Moreover, if he is a player, he will be healthy in both mind and physique. I have chosen to coach for those reasons, and especially for serving the community.
Q: What do you think differentiates basketball from other sports?
As far as I am concerned, basketball is the second fastest game in the world. In basketball, you have to decide within a fraction of a second what you should do – whether you are going to pass, shoot or perform a drive-in. Because of that, your IQ will improve. Secondly, in life, you can make firm decisions, learning from basketball.
In other sports, you get some time. Suppose in cricket, the ball is high and you are going for a catch, you will get some time. In basketball, you don’t get that time. So, your brain is permanently conscious in-game, and you will make decisions. If you go on playing basketball, your brain will become very sharp. This is my opinion.
Q: You are a politician now. What do you think about politics in India?
I converted from basketball coach to politics. Of course, as a sportsman, I have taken these politics in a sportive way. But after entering into politics, my coaching career, and my player career helped a lot. How to analyze people, how to go with the people, how to tackle the people. I used to coach boys, so I know the psychology of these boys. I should go with the psychology of the boys. Suppose I coach small boys at the age of 13 up to men at the age of 25 or 32; if it is a 13-year old, we have to bring ourselves to the age of 13 years. If he is 32 years old, we have to go to the age 32. That has helped in politics.
Of course, I went from sports to politics, so my opinion is, in politics, we should be honest. I worked as a secretary of a union in BHEL. So, as secretary of that union, I never went against the rules. I never accepted any bribes. See, I want to change the politics. Is it possible? It is purely in the hands of the youth.
Q: What do you think about NITT?
See, this is a college having all facilities in sports. I am talking about sports alone because I do not have knowledge about what you have in the technical field. In college, you are having a lot of facilities for playing sports. See, we should encourage all the students to take up sports. They should come to the ground. It can be any sport. Because if they come to sports, they will get the opportunity, they will learn to face defeat, how to move with people, how to work with the community, how to face the community…all this he will learn from the game. I other words, only in sports can you promote all good things. This is my confidence. All these facilities should be utilized.
Q: What would your message to the students be?
When I came to coach for the NITT team, most of my friends asked me why I was going there, and that the team will not practice regularly… they discouraged me like that. But what I thought was, if a student is having the interest to play basketball when I coach for them, then after that they might get a good posting or placement in any company because of this, if they are going for employment. See, you are from NITT, which is a good institution, and from here you are going out for any job; private or public sector may vary, but being a youngster you should tell yourself that you should serve the nation. As far as I am concerned, you should be a good citizen of the country. Don’t sell yourself for more money, don’t go in any illegal way. Because you all are educated and you should educate others; you are the role model for others because you are from NITT. And if you are a role model, you serve the country for its improvement, then your community will remember you for years together.
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Nothing more than that. Being from a prestigious institution, I think you should be a role model for others, being a youngster, being educated, being a sportsman. And so, you should change the country. The country is with the youngsters. On the other hand, if you are interested in politics, come into politics and change the politics.