Performance of Indian basketball players more than a decade ago: Raspreet Sidhu
Raspreet Sidhu has been one of the most consistent performers in Indian basketball in recent times. She represented India in three Asian Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games. He has also captained the national team. Here is a conversation with Raspreet on Indian basketball.
Q1. You have led the Indian team and the Delhi team. How have opportunities improved in the last decade for female basketball players?
A1. A lot has changed in the past decade compared to how things were in basketball at the state and national level. Athletes are at higher risk than a decade ago. Around 15-20 bowlers from India are studying and playing for NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 in the US. Also, opportunities at the very top level or professional level have increased, as can be seen with Indian Railways encouraging professionalism in sports in a big way by associating with basketball players and players of other sports. There are also more opportunities for female bowlers to be a part of professional teams compared to a decade ago. These are two big changes and the association with NCAA is huge as kids train and study there, and some come back to play for the country. So, with him coming back and representing India and contributing those skill sets to the national team, we are already seeing improvement.
Q2. Starting with Geetu N Jose, there were several players who generated interest in foreign leagues. Who are the current stars that you think could make a mark in the WNBA Development League or other top leagues?
A2. I have played with Geetu N Jose for many years and we live by playing together. He did not originate in the American League; I want to bring the facts together here. She was offered a chance to be a part of the NBL, which is in Australia, and hold WNBA trials. So yeah, she was one of the greatest players of all time, but going forward, as I was mentioning earlier, we have at least 15 players of Indian origin playing the game in another country and Learning, now getting an opportunity to be a part. NCAA Colleges. When it comes to bowlers, it is a big achievement in itself. Well, regarding the WNBA, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens in a decade or two. I will say this with confidence because recently, even our 3×3 U-17 boys team has made it to the World Championships. Speaking of these boys, I wouldn’t be surprised if two of these athletes studying in the US end up representing the WNBA if they keep going and get the opportunity at the right time.
Q3. Would you like to mention any names of current stars?
A3. There are many, so I won’t be able to do justice if I mention just one or two, but yes, John is playing for the national team, that much is clear. We also have Anmolpreet, who has been playing professionally in Japan for many years, and she is the only player from India to have been there. Then we have Kavita, but for some reason she stopped playing. So, like I said, there’s a good group of them that are out there, and it’s just about getting the right timing and the right opportunity.
Q4. How do you see India’s position among Asian teams?
A4. The closest we have come to fifth place was back in 2013, when I was leading the India team, and we had a championship in Thailand. Since then, the situation has deteriorated slightly. Basketball is divided into two divisions – Division A and Division B – but India’s Division A has the top 18 from Oceania, so there is now Asia-Oceania, with Asia and Oceania playing together. So, we are Top 8 and we are always Division A. We maintain that Division A for sure.
Q5. With a number of foreign coaches gracing the scene till recently, as a senior pro do you think using him at the grassroots level will yield better results in the long run?
AA There are mixed views on this, and of course this is my personal opinion, but I don’t think it’s a case of this or that. Collective efforts will have to be made at all levels. The Under-16, and if I am not mistaken, the Under-18 team was also coached by a foreign coach in the last two years. Hence, the federation is doing its bit to get coaches not only for the senior team but also for the youth team. But, as you are saying, working at grassroots level will give benefit but here another area to look is if we can train our coaches by beba licensed trainers because we need to invest in long term plan Is. This is my take on the subject and I think we would benefit from a thoughtful program for grassroots coaching. Because when it comes to senior teams, it is not just the technical part but also the practical part involved. We have been very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to train under the guidance of many foreign coaches, including myself. In the last 18 years when we were playing for the country, I have taken training from four or five foreign coaches. But at the grassroots level, I really think a trainers’ program would be of great help.
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