Giving sports the importance it deserves by infusing its passion among schools and students is what defines KinderSports. Founded by Nikhil Ladha in 2011 KinderSports is a known name in sports school education. Nikhil’s ability to connect with his young players and in changing the mindset of parents and teachers is helping sports to get its credibility. The AllAbtYou team got a chance to meet this sportsman who is sharing his love for sports with young students. Here is the jist of the detailed interview.
AAY: What gave you the idea to start KinderSports? Anything specific that triggered it?
Nikhil: I was teaching swimming in Australia and Singapore for a few years and when I came back to India I realized we still have been following the old sports methods and giving a step treatment to sports as compared to academics.
To educate parents and schools about the potential sports had for the students today and to bring quality sports techniques and infra, I created KinderSports. We now have become a leading name in school sports education as well as offer a wide range of sports equipment including portable swimming pools and parachutes that can fit in anywhere.
AAY: Talk about the initial hiccups you faced in the initial months of starting KinderSports.
Nikhil: When we started in 2012 sports wasn’t considered a part of a child’s education and it was labelled as casual. Although the schools had sports as one of the classes, the importance given was almost nil. So the start of KinderSports as we had predicted wasn’t smooth and the biggest hurdle was convincing schools to give sports the importance that was required. The handful of sports academies had infrastructure as a challenge.
We had to cater to both – changing the mindset and solving the infra problem.
A project by Gujarat government came as a big support for us. They wanted us to teach swimming to tribal school children of 60 schools. We had 1.5 months to interview and hire 85 trainers. Other than the timeline, these hires had to be trained to meet up the KinderSports way of teaching which means soft skills, attitude, the right methods and much more.
It was a great challenge to have though.
AAY: What is unique about KS? What is helping this idea grow?
Nikhil: We focus on the best infra for training. We are the first in India to have the best of portable sports infra which caters to two major concerns schools and other sports academies have – space for a good infra or the related cost. Our methods solve both these. Easily foldable, durable sports equipment which are cost-effective is what makes us stand out.
AAY: Other than being a great player, what should a player have in him/her that you believe makes him stand out from the rest?
Nikhil: It’s not about creating champions, it is about teaching them to play. A child learns more than just sports with KinderSports. We teach them how to stand, how to be a team player, how to become more tolerant, how to make sports a part of everyday life.
AAY: How do you plan to educate schools and parents to give sports the focus and weight that it should get?
Nikhil: They just need to get into the game and not just watch it. The players that they idealize as heroes, were one of us and their children and students can be these heroes tomorrow. I suggest they go to watch sports leagues and feel the enthusiasm the player has.
AAY: What is it about KS that makes you feel proud?
Nikhil: My ability to connect with the kids is what makes me feel proud of myself as well as KinderSports. I am proud that all our members share the same ability and that makes the difference in how we train our students.
Given a chance, which Indian celebrity/sports person would you choose to be a KinderSports brand ambassador?
Nikhil: Aamir Khan.
Which sports and sportsman do you like personally
Nikhil: Rahul Dravid, Cricket.
How do you start your day?
Nikhil: A 30 mins walk or swim.
When you are not working for KS, what are you doing?
Nikhil: Spending time with my family or travelling/hiking.
What is your definition of relaxation?
Nikhil: Doing what you love.
Something that is the dearest to you?
Nikhil: Ability to connect with kids.