Often successful transition of research into actual practice is a challenge in any given field of human endeavour, and more so in the world of competitive sports.

For competitive sports, these days are not mere constructive outlets for overflowing energy of some individuals. Rather it is a specialized area of human activity, which requires highest skills, physical conditions, endurance and training, not only on the part of those who play but also who support the players.

Indeed, competitive sport is an industry, which has an abundant supply of quality research and practices to enhance performances, though separately - at least this is what Kaushik Talukdar believes.

Mr Talukdar is an Auckland based strength and conditioning coach, currently pursuing PhD at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and also leading the athlete development program for one of the top private colleges in New Zealand.

Mr Talukdar was speaking at the launch of his new book Sports fit: Bridging the gap between research and practice held on Saturday, March 24, at Birkenhead Library. The book was launched earlier in India at Oxford store at the beginning of this year and aims to help competitive and recreational athletes perform better and minimise their chances of injuries based on research and years of coaching experience.

The Indian Weekender spoke with Mr Talukdar in detail about his entrance and the journey since then, in the relatively uncharted territory (at least by many Kiwi-Indians) of competitive sports.

Here are the excerpts

IWK: Please tell us how you ventured into this relatively unconventional career choice of competitive sports, coaching and athlete development?

Mr Talukdar: I am originally from Assam, and had left India at the age of 21 in 2006 to pursue a career in sports and exercise science after my competitive cricketing career (made it to Ranji Trophy probable/ First class cricket) was over.

My parents have been extremely supportive in encouraging me to pursue my dreams a career in sports and exercise science. In fact, they were the ones who pushed me to go ahead as I was little confused whether to take up a job offered to me in a contact centre in Bangalore or take the flight to New Zealand.

I am glad I did, as I met my wife here, along with having a career of choice.

IWK: Please tell us more about your career as a professional coach and training athletes?

Mr Talukdar: Along with leading a team for the athlete development program within the college, I am currently working with the pathway to podium athletes competing in world championships across various sports, I recently worked with New Zealand’s fastest junior sprinter for the Common Wealth Games. My PhD is also an extensive project looking to better prepare female adolescent athletes.

IWK: What inspired you to write this book?

Mr Talukdar: As strength and conditioning coach with a keen interest in evidence led practice, I was always looking for information that could help my athletes perform better and minimize their chances of injuries. However, I mostly found books that are either based on extensive research but with little practical implications or completely based on anecdotes and opinions with little scientific support. Therefore, I wanted to write something that could bridge the gap between the two worlds, i.e. research and practice and hence Sports fit: Bridging the gap between research and practice was created.

IWK: How this book is different to other fitness books?

Mr Talukdar: I think Sports Fit is concise and simple for most young coaches to understand and most importantly it attempts to bridge the gap between research and practical aspects of strength and conditioning.

IWK: Who are the people you consistently look up to?

Mr Talukdar: Professionally, I have always looked up to coach Michael Boyle (world’s top strength and conditioning expert from the United States), whatever he has accomplished as a coach and an entrepreneur is truly inspirational. I have also learned immensely from my mentor Professor John Cronin (world’s top sports scientist and researcher from New Zealand). Personally, my family has been the biggest inspiration.

IWK: What would be your greatest accomplishment so far as a professional coach?

Mr Talukdar: Seven years back when I was relatively new in this profession I helped a young professional cricketer with lower back pain by systematically diagnosing the cause and effectively progressing his training, he ended up getting picked for the World Cup under 19 squad as the vice-captain and scored the most runs in the tournament, that was an amazing feeling like 8 months prior to selection he was disheartened and not sure if he could play due to constant lower back pain.

IWK: Can you share your training philosophy for the benefit of our readers?

Mr Talukdar: Train with a purpose, breathe and move consistently well.


Kaushik Talukdar can be contacted at kaushik.talukdar21@gmail.com