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#Sarachats: Replace your child’s screen time with a healthier option? Sure, with sports. Says Thrive Sports Academy owner Mudit.

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Bookosmia Spotlight

Hello. Sara here.  Here is one of my favourite chats with my cooler, older friend Mudit who has been in the spotlight for running a successful sports academy in Agra, producing great players like Poonam Yadav.

I know parents have SO MUCH to think about when they choose how to engage their kids. Here is a crisp answer – sports. Why? Read on…

#Sarachats: Replace your child’s screen time with a healthier option? Sure, with sports. Says Thrive Sports Academy owner Mudit.

Sara: Hey Mudit, I am so glad you are running the Thrive Sports Academy in Agra, which is producing greats like Indian team player Poonam Yadav. But how did it add up- Agra, a tier 2 city in Uttar Pradesh and a Sports Academy? I hear from my friends that most people in the city aspire to be engineers, doctors and businessmen.

Mudit: You are right Sara. Most of the population here has a conventional mindset and want their kids to go for those typical careers. But that is where I saw an opportunity to provide an alternative option. Also, my personal experience at the only sports stadium in Agra led me to believe that the city needs more options- getting up at 5am in the morning and paying 1500 monthly fees also didnt ensure that I will be able to reach the front of the queue of players who get to play a round of badminton. That pushed me to think of providing an alternative venue to sports enthusiasts. Also I think with all its culture of eating out, people from Agra deserve to lead a healthier lifestyle through sports and exercise.

Sara: How do you handle expectations from parents and kids who want to make it as big as Poonam Yadav and the likes?

Mudit: We do expectation setting at various levels. At the time of entry, we assess the child’s interest in the game and willingness to work hard. The coach would later ensure they counsel the parents and child throughout. We tell the parents to give the child some time and let them try their hands at a bunch of sports before making a choice. But we also tell them that sports is similar to studies. It is a combination of interest, hard work and skill over 14-15 years which determines the child’s performance at the board exams or graduation. Parents should be ready to invest the same kind of effort and interest in a child’s sports and not expect overnight results. More than anything, sports is a great way to stay active and be usefully engaged.
Especially in today’s times where kids are wasting hours with a phone. Parents must realize that sports is not only to win medals or play at a national level. It is a great way to keep your kids meaningfully engaged and to stay fit.

Sara: I hear you constantly refer to ‘sports’, and not cricket. Which is such a welcome break because in India we equate the two. Even with the success of your cricket players, are you looking at expanding to other sports?

Mudit: At the Thrive Academy, we have taken a phase wise approach to building the infrastructure and coaching resources for various  sports. Outside of cricket, we already have students coming in for tennis, badminton, football and volleyball. It will take some more time to create awareness about other such sports and excite parents about it, but am sure that culture will set in. We are making a start.

Sara: Do you have a message for parents and kids ?
Mudit: Yes Sara, I strongly urge parents and children to bust a lot of widespread stereotypes like sports is not for girls, cricket is the only sport in India and players from smaller cities can’t make it to the national level. We must think beyond these limitations.
Encourage your children to play, not just so they can win accolades and medals. Make them play to learn discipline, teamwork and resilience. And more importantly, to make a better use of their time, away from the screens and be engaged in fitness. I often see parents trying to think of so many ways to distract their children from phones, when the obvious one is right there. My recommendation to every parent is to pick sports for their kids. Just a little encouragement from your side today to get started, will give your child the a gift of a lifetime.
Sara: I have to say this has been one of the most fun chats I have had. Yes more of us should take to sports once we resume normal life. Until then, read  beautiful stories from the world of sports to your child below and you will see the point.
To listen to Poonam’s message urging kids to get out there and play, click – https://youtu.be/8nb6olSvgYo

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