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Had to get into coaching to survive: Vikram

Vikram Malhotra’s ongoing season has been a good one. Winning three titles and 34 out of 47 matches, the Indian came close to breaching the top-50 in the world four months ago, but an injury played spoil-sport.

Had to get into coaching to survive: Vikram
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Vikram Malhotra in action against Saurav Ghosal in the quarter-finals

Chennai

Vikram, like many upcoming players, chose to go to a foreign university instead of a squash career in India. He got admission into Trinity College in Connecticut to study Public Policy and Law and while playing squash for the university, Vikram had to take up coaching. In a chat, the Indian opened up on why he had to take to coaching and more. 

On why he chose coaching 

The reason I got into coaching was because, as a player the finances were not up to the mark and coaching was something that I had to do to survive. 

On being both a coach and player 

I think it’s a positive thing. As a player, you see certain dimensions of the game and as a coach, you see a different side. I don’t know about other players, but, seeing from the outside, it helps me better my game as well. It gives me a different perspective of things. 

On managing time 

It’s tough to dedicate hours for both. You are always helping someone or basically helping each other. Sometimes athletes push to two or three sessions a day. Having a full- time job and playing affect me. The downside is there is no time to rest. But it is something that I have to do. I have been coaching for three years. Financially, it’s a little better. Also, my racquet has been doing the talking of late. Because of that I am getting funding from SAI (Sports Authority of India) and SRFI (Squash federation). 

On players choosing foreign universities over squash 

Everybody thinks that you go abroad and stop playing squash. But that’s not the case. When you leave here, you will realise about the facilities and help available. It builds exposure and helps you improve. 

On working with his full-time coach,Thierry Lincou 

When I started training with Thierry, I thought I was fit. But, I have never been more embarrassed in my life. I thought that I was all fit and cool. But reality hit and it hit pretty hard. The whole training experience with him was amazing. He pushes you to a point where you want to work even if your body is giving up. That motivates and drives me. It makes me mentally strong. The guy is obviously here to help me and the minimum I can do is listening to him and following his instructions. 

What is tough, coaching or playing? 

Coaching is definitely tougher. Playing is also harder. But coaching is more frustrating. You expect your players to do something and if they don’t, you lose it. You think you would have done it correctly. But that’s not the case.

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