Our Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye has journeyed as a player, a coach, a judge and a sports official on national as well as international platforms therefore gaining immense insight in these past 30+ years in the sports industry – Knowledge not just about gymnastics but an overall sports scenario, development, training, fitness, competitions, hurdles, progress etc! 
#CoachSpeaks is a series where Varsha Upadhye shares her views and experiences on various topics related to Sports – development, progress, hurdles and obstacles etc.

Pro Gymnastics League 2019 - An Interesting Initiative to create awareness and bonding among gymnasts across the country

Pro Gymnastics League 2019 (31st January)

“What is important at this time in our country with respect to sports in general is creating an awareness and improving a sporting spirit between players and champions of all disciplines and fields – this was exactly what Pro Gymnastics League resonated with in their recently held games and I was quite impressed with the way this initiative was organised.
14 player teams were made consisting of best players from all over over the country from all disciplines of gymnastics – artistic, rhythmic, acrobatics etc. It wasn’t a state vs state but a mixed team made of gymnasts from different Indian states playing together, who would challenge the other team for various gymnastics elements. It was all about perfection in performance at that every moment. In RG it was Aditee vs Meghana each judged by 2 Judges in their respective routines.
Fair play, cordial relations and understanding between champions not just from their state but with others, other disciplines was a treat to watch as, in my experience, this bonding creates a good base for a young gymnasts to maintain relations and grow as a disciplined, humble sports player. It wasn’t about winning or losing but more about enjoying the challenges and to compete sportively. 
Proud to have represented PRGA, Maharashtra and Mumbai at this interesting initiative!”

Pro Gymnastics League 2019
13th February, 2019: Remembering my mother |
How persuasion for correct training and importance for fitness starts from home

13th February, 2019: Remembering my mother
How persuasion for correct training and importance for fitness starts from home

I have always been a firm believer of strong parental support in any sports field. The persuasion for correct training and importance for fitness starts from home and I am a prime witness to that having had a devoted, progressive mother who pushed me into fitness training at the age of seven, around 42 years back!
At a time when sports as a chosen career was not an option, for a girl to be sent for gymnastics training was a next big thing. I feel fortunate to have had a mother who realised the importance of physical education, particularly since I was a weak kid and enrolled me at the gymnastics centre is Shri Samarth Vyayam Mandir, Dadar – and that’s how my journey began.
It wasn’t for anything in return such a medals or acclaim (as is the view of most parents now a days from sports) but also for a fitness regime to become a part of who I am. This is to all parents out there – Physical education is a must for all kids no matter what career choice. This decision reflects in their future.
Today, almost 15 years since she passed away, I remember her for all her efforts and thank her for trusting my talent, my decisions. For enrolling me into sports which eventually shaped up my future and gave me lessons to last for a lifetime.

Varsha Upadhye with her Mother
A Coach is like a second mother!

A Coach is like a second mother!

“Ever noticed that there is only one letter difference between the words Aai and Tai (Mother and Coach)?
The complete essence of coaching not only involves training but also grooming and nurturing these young girls and building their confidence to face the competitive world!

As gymnasts and coaches we keep traveling throughout the year nationally and Internationally for competitions, away from our families. In these times the coach has to take up a wholesome responsibility of looking after their diet, exercise, styling – teach them how to do hair and make up, get ready in their attire on time at the same time be stern and Coach them for the competition! There are times when the kids realise they miss their parents and it is our job to bridge that gap and be there for them emotionally, to not let the competition stress get to their head.

Some of my under 10 age group students have already had their International competition debuts and most of my senior students are International players who are now coaching these kids with me. I see now how this tradition is being passed down, word for word, emotion for emotion. It’s an exciting phase for me to see my young coaches develop the same bond as they did with me when they were my students.” 
– #PRGAchiefcoach Varsha Upadhye

Women's Day 2019 - Celebrating Women in RG India

Women’s Day 2018 – Celebrating the #WomenInSport

“Since the time I started my career in gymnastics around 30 years back, I have seen some great fellow sports women across the country who have been fighting their own battles for support of Rhythmic Gymnastics in their state. We have grown from strength to strength learning from each other and trying to establish this women oriented sport across the country.

Today, I’d like to celebrate us – a generation of self-confident women withimmense sporting spirit across the country, who have evolved together to this day where our very first students are continuing our legacy with the same bonding and respect for each other. A lot of sacrifices have been made by these Coaches to give such a good a platform their students. This new generation should respect this and remember where they come from when they start their own journey, never forget your roots!
We have come a long way from being young coaches ready to fight for their students. We are now much more of a family reunited at every competition, reminiscing our days and discussing ways to improve the scenario for our girls.

We may have had our own share of fights and arguments during competitions but we always had the one true goal of making a mark in the world as a Rhythmic Gymnastics team from India. Nothing could stop us before and nothing can stop us now in achieving what’s best for our students – this spirit is what binds us together and our time is still not done here!” – PRGA Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Efficiency in RG India

“I have always wondered how efficient our situation in sports can be if it becomes as organized and planned just like the academic calendar maintained by schools and colleges. 
Currently students all over have managed very well to balance their academic and extra curricular activities, a few examples are from PRGA itself, winning all round awards etc. 
With the uncertainty in the competition event dates and an unpredictable schedule, it becomes difficult for parents and coaches to plan a guided training program and manage finances for the year. Parents have questions and unfortunately most of the times we coaches have no guaranteed answer, unlike other academic courses and choices that know exactly where what path leads to.
We have been trying our best to make the most of the resources we get but eventually a systemized timeline will help us effectively create and nurture talent and not burn them out before they even reach their prime! I’m sure most of my fellow coaches will agree to this!” 
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Invitation to discuss 2019 manifesto

Invitation to discuss 2019 manifesto

Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye was invited to a seminar in Dadar on 27th February 2019 to discuss the 2019 manifesto – future needs and demands from ladies of different fields. She represented the women in sports – discussing crucial aspects and necessities, issues and concerns.
This event was led by Vijaya Rahatkar – National President of BJP Mahila Morcha, women’s wing of the party. Many accomplished women leaders from various walks of life were present at this seminar.

“We didn’t look at it as a political event but more of an open discussion to understand what the women in various fields of work need in order to develop and progress further.
It was an honor to represent the sports field and voice the concerns of my fellow sports officials, coaches, Judges, players. In the spirit of development, through such open discussions, one can hope that we see better funding and fulfillment of our basic requirements for progress of sports in India in the near future.” 
– Chief Coach and International Judge Varsha Upadhye.

Outlook for sports as a healthy lifestyle

“The outlook for sports in general shouldn’t just be about competitions and medals, it’s also about maintaining fitness, making fitness a way of life!
Parents’ approach should be to give their kids a sense of quality life through sports and training no matter what they choose as their primary career choice. 
The discipline and attitude towards life that develops through sports lasts for a lifetime and adds such values to life! I’m proud and happy of being a sportsperson and thank my parents for introducing me into be world of Gymnastics at a time when girls weren’t even encouraged to get into the field and play in the mud. 
I remember as a kid when I would go for training everyday, it was never about winning medals or competition, it was all about fun and fitness. A way of life that I keeps me fit and strong even today! 
This is what needs to be conveyed to kids today and let them get into sporting arena and play for a healthy future. Medals and acclaim will come your way when it needs to, naturally!” 
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye 

A visit from my coach, reminding me how coaching is also a constant learning process

” “Dreams are those that keep you awake, not the ones that you see when you’re asleep” – Mr. Uday Deshpande Sir’s words while addressing my students. A quote that has always struck a chord within me.
No matter how much experience you gain in your lifetime as a coach, there’s always more to learn. Being a coach is a learning process too, to be able to impart the knowledge that you received from your coach and adding your own teachings and nuances to keep it as contemporary as possible. With each passing generation of students and coaches this knowledge only keeps growing.
But, at the end of the day, when my coach stands next to me I am still the same student as I was many years back. I don’t think I will ever be at par with my coach when it comes to knowledge and experience. Even today, I stand next to him not as his equal but as his student, still learning and still understanding.
I am so glad that Deshpande Sir could come and give his few words of advice to my students and hope that these words of wisdom stay with them as it has with me for so many years” 

Mr. Uday Deshpande is the Pioneer of Mallakhamb in India and has helped in the development of the sport abroad. A National Champion himself, He’s the receipient of many prestigious awards including the recent Shiv Chattrapati Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Mr. Uday Deshpande and Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye at the PRGA excellency centre.
Balancing motherhood and coaching - creating a trustworthy environment and My son's success that followed

“As a coach, my students become my second family. I have had the privilege to celebrate many of their achievements. Their first medal, their first international participation, their first prestigious state awards and much more. They have had the chance to prove themselves to me, to their parents and to the world! Focusing on my students’ training required many sacrifices on my family front which included the amount of time spent with my own son. 
Even before PRGA was started full time, I had continued my career in Jet Airways while Dhruva was still a new born. During that same time I had gone to attend National Championships with my very first student and continued working at the competition carrying baby Dhruva in my arms, going against people’s advice of staying at home and resting with him. While I was away most of the times traveling for competitions and training all these years, my son Dhruva patiently learnt to be self sufficient when it came to studying and creating a daily routine. 
It was so important to create this level of understanding between us and also making sure that the distance didn’t give rise to negative emotions and outcomes as he grew older. An understanding not only between us but also between me and my husband who has given me immense support in these matters.
He finally got a chance to prove himself with his talent this year and outshine himself by securing 98.4% in his 10th boards! At a time when I had to be away for most part of this important year of his life, he has surprised me with his maturity of dealing with this stress and I couldn’t have been more proud. 
This not only gives me strength to pursue my career even more actively, but also gives me assurance in my ways of bringing up my child, the environment we created at home and the values of sportsmanship that seeped through eventually.”

Taking your Guru's legacy forward is the biggest gurudakshina for a guru

“Using all the principles and learnings as a student and passing it on to future generations as gurus themselves is the best gift one can give to their teachers. It’s like taking a legacy forward!
My first batch of students – Sadichchha, Kshipra and Akshata had already started basic coaching by then but now they’ve become official Coaches and Judges representing India at International platforms! My junior students back then have now grown up to be international players and themselves started coaching basic rhythmic (some advance) at separate centres all by themselves and at the same time managing individual training of their own for their games. Radhika handles the Thane centre all by herself and the response has been fantastic! Her students even played their first state level games recently, Disha handles the Andheri centre while Aditee and Janhavi look after junior training at the Shivaji Park, Dadar centre. Sadichchha and Kshipra both take up advance competitive training of the Juniors and seniors. Akshata is successfully managing her own BPCA rhythmic club with her faculty. Siddhi too started basic Gymnastics at Boston! 
Looking back at 2012, things have grown exponentially now. As a guru, I feel blessed to have these students who trusted my decisions and training. I can only hope that this sport grows with them and they take it to new heights every passing year. 
Happy Gurupurnima to all the teachers, coaches and gurus out there creating future champions and leaders!”

Passion will lead rhythmic, passion will lead to success

“Passion will lead rhythmic, passion will lead to success.
Have you ever noticed that every olympian or champion India has ever produced be it Milkha Singh or PT Usha or others from various fields, have all come from humble backgrounds, limited resources but carried the strongest passion for their game. 
When it comes to rhythmic gymnastics in India, there is definitely a strong need for better infrastructure but that is NOT the only factor that will take the game forward. It is also the willingness of the students to want to come and practice no matter what obstacles or adverse conditions they face. The “ziddi”ness should come from within. That truly is the reality of this sport in India and how 2 generations of rhythmic champions across the country have found their way up.
During Mumbai rains, we say the show must go on! We build a rain cover/shed over our terrace and our students continue to practice and perform. 
If you’re passionate enough about your sport and have the hunger to become the best, nothing can stop you – not lack of resources nor lack of infrastructure not even the weather! 
It’s how you make the best of what you have and prove your mettle. Rest everything else is a bonus that helps you push through and retain that mark!”

Ganpati Puja Tradition at PRGA

“There is quite a story of how I started with Ganpati Puja at my place with my RG family.
When the RG team for Commonwealth Games 2010 (which was made up of all 3 Mumbai students) was declared in the newspapers, Mr. Balasaheb Thackeray invited me and my 3 students at his residence for a congratulatory meet. It was the day of Hartalika, a day before Ganesh Chaturthi.
While leaving, he gifted this Ganpati idol to me and requested me to start the auspicious puja for this festival at my house after this great CWG achievement. As a result, this became a yearly PRGA family event with me and my students and their parents converging at my house for a Ganpati Puja. It’s remarkable how these small yet memorable events give rise to a beautiful yearly ritual, binding us closer as a family!”
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Becoming a champion is not a package deal

“Sports in India is witnessing a great amount of young talent vying to be champions. A generation of ‘aware’ and fitness conscious parents are being ever so supportive of a passionate career for their children and doing everything they can to make it happen for them, be it any sport or fitness activity.
Along with this sporting spirit, there’s also growing competitiveness towards perfection and an absolute goal of winning it all in every aspect of life. Parents want their kids to be all-rounders, they want academic excellence as well as golden sports trophies. There are people out there making planned calculations, doing extensive research to find the correct formula for balancing and getting the best of both worlds.
While it is great to be an all-rounder, it also depends on each child’s capacity, otherwise, the kid will only look at fulfilling expectations and not focus on their sole passion and love for a game! Not every kid is born to be an all-rounder, some are meant to be sporting champions, some are superb at academics. There needs to be one focussed path, one that the child themselves feel strongly for, only then will they perform and strive towards perfection for that one golden future!
We’re all aiming for big targets for our kids but we also need to understand that it takes even bigger preparation to meet that target! The “tayaari” isn’t a year of training, it is not a packaged deal with a fixed result. It requires consistency, patience and years of giving every inch of your mind into the game, only then will the world see an absolute champion!”

– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Pursuing the sport from start to the finish line

“In my career of over 40 years, I have seen Rhythmic Gymnastics evolve and grow into such a beautiful and competitive sport in this country that parents are now being ever so supportive towards competitions with increased participation at all levels.
But the important question here is, how many of the kids actually have the passion and continuous zest to follow through towards a bigger goal like the Olympics? Many lose interest by the time they reach the senior group and many quit out of academic pressure or career choices. Some manage to outshine and grow into national champions but the push is never enough in their career to reach even the qualifiers of Olympics.
It is not only on the coach but it is also the passion and dedication from the gymnast and their parents. Are we ready for sacrifices, are we ready to give it all? Are we ready to trust the process no questions asked? When I look at the players today in the country, it still seems like a far fetched dream.
We have growing national champions and international participants but now it’s time to push the envelope even further, we need to set a global foot! Our girls can do wonders if only they pursue the sport with honesty and passion, from start to the finish line keeping that one international goal in mind.” – Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

A new generation of champions, a proud moment as coach - Khelo India 2020

#CoachSpeaks – #KheloIndiaYouthGames2020
“3rd Khelo India Youth Games has marked a special spot in my coaching career – witnessing the second generation of champions trained by my super senior students.

My super senior champions now coaches and judges, stood proud as they saw their students win individual medals on a national level, at this esteemed event!

Sadichchha and Kshipra with their champions from #PRGA Maitreyi, Ananya and Aditee (All round champion for the 2nd year in a row), Pooja and Mansi with their champions from #Phoenix Academy Shreya and Asmi! These girls not only won medals for Maharashtra but also made it a reigning champion with maximum medals from Rhythmic.

2020 has surely begun on a positive note for me and PRGA. Here’s hoping my younger students look up to this level of dedication and rise up to new challenges in the game, spread the love for rhythmic gymnastics and take the sport to a new height year after year.”
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

PRGA senior Aditee Dandekar wins Shiv Chhatrapati Award 2019-2020

#CoachSpeaks : Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye’s interview on News 18 Lokmat

“Maharashtra has created history this year at 3rd Khelo India Youth Games 2020 by winning the most number of medals for the 3rd consecutive year. Khelo India is its essence is a great initiative that is giving us various champions from various schools and spreading awareness for the importance of sports but what we coaches don’t see is the continuation of many sports players’ journey from school level to an international level, as training for the Olympics! Many sports players are not gearing up beyond their Khelo India journey towards an international goal, the number of participants pursuing it suddenly decline.
There needs to be a significant push in terms of more excellency centers and infrastructure development so as to enable these champions to take their goals further and dream of international medals as well.
With more funding and promotion initiatives by the sports ministry, it will boost the interest of many young sports players. Parents are also getting actively involved in this process. With a focus on building a stronger training foundation, it will become easier to keep progressing further and reach new heights.”
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Staying FIT is the only way to survive these changing times

“We are witnessing how quickly things around us are changing. Corona virus has hit the world like a bad wave and we are forced to stay home and figure out a way to stay safe! Now, External factors are definitely not in our control but what we can master and work towards is internal fitness – mental and physical fitness.

Being fit is the only way to survive these changing times. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise or sport you take to but it’s important that you workout atleast for an hour every day. I’m addressing this not only to our PRGA Gymnasts but also to the parents. Along with hygiene and diet, fitness is an important aspect that should become a lifestyle.

This will take us a long way ahead 💪
Not only should you Stay safe, and stay at home but also work towards staying mentally, physically fit.

I’m also very happy to see that my students are not letting this lockdown situation stop them from continuing their training. Keep it up 👍 “
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

A heartfelt message to all Coaches in the time of Corona Virus Lockdown 2020

#CoachSpeaks #coronaviruslockdown
“This is truly a heartfelt message to all my fellow coaches and judges around the world who I have had the opportunity to interact with and forge a really good bond in all these years right from 2004 to now! We are all in this together, we’re all going through this tough time together finding out our own ways to work it out for our academy and students.

We’re going through a time where we don’t have any idea how tough it is going to be to get back to the halls and get the students to come back with the same enthusiasm and aim. At the same time, we are handling responsibilities on the home front, tackling all issues simultaneously and ensuring maximum safety.

Now more than ever, as a community, we need to stand by each other. And I sincerely hope that you’re safe and sound, surrounded by family and taking care of your own mental as well as physical health.

I can see how sportspersons around the world are finding innovative ways to keep the training alive, virtually! With challenges, dance sessions, yoga, scheduled training sessions, we’re ensuring this time is equally productive and doesn’t put a stop to all these years of rigorous training. A big thank you to parents, kudos to students and respect to all coaches and judges for this continued support and passion for our sport!”
– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye @varsha.upadhye (International Coach and Judge, RG India)

Mother's Day Special - Thanking my two pillars of strength

#CoachSpeaks #MothersDaySpecial
“Time and again I have stressed upon the fact how my mother is responsible for helping me make fitness a priority in my life. But on this occasion of Mother’s Day, I would like to thank another support system who ensured that there are no roadblocks to my career!

My Mother-in-Law, because of whom I could confidently travel across the world for my competitions, knowing that her support and her presence is keeping the family safe and sound back home. She always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, my career post marriage. She happily took upon the responsibility of taking care of the family whenever I had to constantly be at my academy. She took care of me just like an Aai would, of her daughter.
Infact, the very foundation of PRGA is because of my Mother-in-law and she has a major role to play in the initial setting up years of the academy.

I feel fortunate and blessed to have been nurtured by these two strong idols of women empowerment.
Here’s to all the mothers out there trying to make it happen for them and their children, especially in this lockdown!
Happy Mother’s Day!

– Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye

Navratri 2020 Special - The NaariShakti Series for 9 Days

#CoachSpeaks by PRGA Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •


Day 1 of 9

As women, “the strength to hold on and the courage to let go” are strong innate abilities we develop as we move ahead in our life. 
At every stage we have to prove our strength and show why we belong, why we deserve the respect for our work. It takes a great deal of courage to rise above all the assumptions and self doubt to finally make your mark in the world. 

Today’s young generation of girls needs to understand this power they hold within them. We all have strength and courage and it’s upto us how we harness them in our time of need. I always try to incorporate this in my way of coaching, by constantly making sure they know how to be strong in the face of adversity as well as success. Nobody can take us down if we believe in our own strengths and not be afraid to fight for what we believe is right.

The power of a woman knows no bounds and these 9 days we will reflect on such powerful feminine qualities.

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 2 of 9

A woman is truly gifted with the ability to express wholeheartedly – be it through our eyes, our words, our artforms or talent or even our own sense of style. With so much grace and beauty filled within us in our own unique ways, we should always walk with our head held high and set to achieve our goals. On the other hand we also have a sense of warmth and affection that plays a big part in all the roles we play in our life.

Rhythmic gymnastics truly embodies these characteristics where gymnasts have to carry themselves with grace and poise and perform difficulties with focus and strength! It is a sport full of feminine power and energy and why I feel most empowered to teach it to young girls, hoping that it instills a sense of confidence in them. 

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 3 of 9

In my personal opinion, you can achieve anything in life if you’re dedicated enough to pursue it right till the end and I find that as women, we have a strong foundation of these qualities that pushes us even more. 

From my travels around the world and in the country, I have been fortunate enough to meet many wonderful and inspiring sportswomen. The most common thing I noticed among all of us was our sheer dedication towards achieving our goal. All our journeys were full of struggles and hardship but nothing stopped us from aiming for perfection in our work.  

Rhythmic gymnastics in itself is a sport that amplifies these two qualities. Only with pure dedication towards the training can one achieve the level of perfection required to earn that esteemed medal. Every throw, catch, start, end, kick, turn and jump – every single expression from head to toe needs to be perfect inorder to be a true champion. 

There’s so much more to say about these qualities but I will mention them as we go further into the other days.

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 4 of 9

Women around the world have overcome great obstacles by being persistent, by being patient even in adversities and by being passionate about what they believed was right. Women throughout history have shown us how perseverance is the key to achieving our goals! As women, these qualities are our biggest strengths. In a sense they empower us to keep on fighting for what we desire. 

After 16 years of balancing an airlines job along with gymnastics coaching, my passion for my sport made me take a leap of faith and start a full time training academy for a new sport from scratch, in 2005. It is the same passion, dedication and courage that helped me fight the naysayers and take my gymnasts to new heights as sportswomen representing our country. I was able to also take this forward because of the immense support and encouragement from these “Rhythmic super moms” as I like to call them. Their passion towards their daughter’s sporting journey was equally important and created a bond for lifetime even beyond the academy.

Today, after all these years, I am still persistent towards making it happen, for my next generation of students. The fact that they reflect this passion within them gives me immense hope. Passion and perseverance are strong powerful qualities that can truly define your growth in life. Harness it!

I’m sure many of us relate to these factors.

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 5 of 9

Women are known to be the best at multitasking, balancing the many roles and responsibilities in life. Our power lies in making the impossible happen for our family, for ourselves. 

I believe that a background in sports helps you truly harness your potential – mentally and physically. I have seen young girls transform into confident sportswomen after their years of sports training. For me personally, sports always made me feel empowered, it prepared me to face all challenges life has to offer. 

At the end of the day, you should do what makes you feel the best version of yourself, harness the power and potential you carry as a woman. The ability to multitask is a superpower, there’s nothing we can’t do!

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 6 of 9

“You can do this” – just a simple affirmation to yourself can enable you to overcome all your fears. Divert your energies into being optimistic about your own future, you just need to believe in your own self and that will make all the difference.

Just because you failed today or you didn’t qualify, doesn’t mean you can never succeed. You don’t give up on yourself. You fight another day, you practice harder and stronger, you visualise your glory and work towards it. That’s the journey of every champion. 

In the present scenario, it is so important to be optimistic and make our young ones believe in a better world! Mental health is equally important to focus on because it is so easy to get lost in a spiral of negativity. As coaches, it is our responsibility to ensure the gymnasts find their training to be as engaging and evolving as possible. The optimism needs to reflect from either sides for a fruitful training experience!

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 7 of 9

Women are often portrayed as more nurturing and empathetic, and I do believe that it is one of our strongest qualities. Along with being a force of strength in the lives of their children, women have the super power of nurturing young minds. Their empathetic nature allows them to understand others and help them in all ways possible.

My mother was the one who enrolled me into fitness training back in the 70s, at a time when girls were not expected to be into sports and fitness. She nurtured the importance of fitness in me and today that is my profession! Being the Chief Coach of an academy training young girls in the only Olympic recognised female oriented sport, it is an honour to be called a “Tai” and develop these gymnasts as if they were my own young kids. 

As mentioned before, as coaches of these very young gymnasts, we have to empathize with their situation and find the best ways to be able to provide wholesome fitness training. The bond of trust and respect helps us communicate and deliver results. So don’t consider these abilities as a weakness, they are your super powers that make you a strong woman!

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 8 of 9

Our various experiences and travels through our lifetime help us gain knowledge and wisdom that we apply in our everyday routines. Intelligence is not only through books, you need to venture out into the world to mature as a person – Sports gave me that intelligence and wisdom which supported me in my job as well as my coaching career. As I always say, sports prepared me to face life.

While an airlines job helped me meet people from different walks of life, a sports career enabled me to travel across the globe and interact with like-minded super women who are changing the game. It helped me improve my lifestyle and opened up my mind to more knowledge. It gave me a wholesome perspective on all things. As women, I feel we need this experience to evolve and understand our innate strength.

This is why I encourage parents of my young gymnasts to let them start building this confidence of venturing out into the world, at that young age. Taking them to national and international competitions helps them see outside their regular knowledge. It makes them wiser, disciplined and self confident from a young age. They learn to maintain a balance in their lives early on.
As young girls, instilling this confidence could change their future for good.

#CoachSpeaks by Chief Coach Varsha Upadhye
• The #NaariShakti Series •

Day 9 of 9

For the last 8 days we have tried to shed light on the powerful qualities of women and how we need to remember this energy we hold within us. Today, as we come to an end of the series, we discuss qualities that have empowered women to take the centre stage and own the world – Ambition and Will Power.

In today’s time, being an ambitious woman with strong values is an advantage in various careers. If you have the will power to work for your dreams, no societal barrier can ever stop you. I chose to have a job and a career and focus full time on sports development. It took tremendous will power to fight for my place in the system. Similarly there are so many inspiring Indian sportswomen who have broken barriers and continued to strive in their chosen field of work. Because nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and your dreams!

No path is free of challenges, how you overcome them and continue to move ahead is in your hands. I urge all young girls and women to realise the potential you hold within you – the strength, passion, dedication, power and courage you can harness! Have goals, have ambitions and strive hard for it. Success and the rest will follow. 

Do share your thoughts. Thank you for staying tuned to the series! Best of luck to all.