Sports has traditionally been a hobby and never seriously pursued as a career in India. However, today sports careers are booming and there is a huge scope for people who wish to pursue sports. From sports coaches to psychologists, there is a niche for everyone. We spoke to Shashank Khare, who is a Boxing medalist and is pursuing a sports internship. Here is what he had to say about his sports internship experience -
Give us your background and explain your interest in sports.
I have been in sports all my life and pursue a parallel career in boxing. I completed by graduation in B.Sc. (Sports Science) and was a gold medallist. I also completed a Sports Certification in Boxing conducted by the Netaji Subhash Institute of Sports.
Currently I am pursuing my Post Graduation in Sports at Lovely
Professional University. I have participated in boxing competitions and have been awarded the Best Boxer of Punjab University (2014) and won the Gold Medal (Junior category – 64kg) and AIU (All India Inter University) Bronze Medal.
Tell us about where you are interning and how did you get this opportunity?
I am interning at IISA (Imperial International Sports Academy), which was set up with the agenda of eradicating childhood obesity and spreading sports literacy in India. They have tied up with our college and provide internships for students in the final year. I went through an interview process and currently I am interning in Jaipur.
What do you do as a part of the sports internship?
IISA ties up with schools across India and provides sports infrastructure and faculty to promote sports and fitness. Essentially I am the representative of IISA in a school in Jaipur and undertake all the activities of IISA in the school. It is a wide range of activities including teaching the high school students basketball which is also my specialisation in PG.
It includes participating in events like Health-O-meter which is their flagship product and involves taking the health reports of the school children. I act as their basketball coach and assist them in inter-school events. I also interact with their parents in PTA meetings.
What have you learned in the internship?
This internship has been like hands-on job training for me. One of the careers that I can pursue after my education is to become a coach and this internship is providing me real life experience. One of the biggest learning is how people perceive sports; from where I come from – Moga, Punjab – sports is a part of life. Every child participates in sports all through their childhood and it is promoted even as a career.
However, in Jaipur it is a very different scenario, parents here are more focused on academic excellence. This is why I think such an organisation plays a vital role in promoting sports.
I have also learned how it is to interact with school management as a coach. It is tough to negotiate both time and infrastructure for sports activities especially where the focus is on academics. I have learned negotiation skills, convincing skills and other management skills like time management and talking to people.
What do you like about the internship? Any good experiences?
Yes, the students are the best part of the internship! I truly enjoy playing and teaching students about sports. Nothing binds people together like a love for sports and I am glad to bring a bit of happiness in their lives. I enjoy explaining the nuances of sports and why exactly we train in a particular way.
Sports make me feel alive and if I pursue a career in coaching it will be only for this!
What are your future career goals?
I am keen on doing a PhD in sports however I wish to have my own sports coaching program where I can train people for competitions and armed forces examinations. Sports careers are flourishing today and my classmates are planning for a variety of careers including coaching, teaching, sports nutritionist, trainer, sports publishing (Editor, Publisher), sports psychologist and even government jobs like DSO (District Sports Officer) and Sports Authority officials.
What advice do you have for other youngsters who wish to pursue a career in sports?
First of all, one needs to have a love for sports. It’s not a backup option or something you do because you can’t excel at other stuff. Most importantly, you need to have the technical know-how. Sport affects the body and if you are not aware you can put someone at physical risk!
Also, it’s always great if you can play a sport yourself, that way you can understand the psyche of a sportsperson better.
Find out about more such offbeat careers and internships on our blog here.