On the right track

Tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran took the help of Netherlands Olympic coach Christian Bosse to sort out his injury and recovery issues

A couple of years ago, tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran was not a big name on the Indian circuit. Injuries had gotten the better of him, and his career was in a state of hibernation. It was time to bring in the experts.

Gunneswaran called on strength and conditioning coach, Christian Bosse. The two had crossed paths at a camp held at the KSLTA Stadium in Bengaluru, nearly 10 years ago. Bosse, the Netherlands National Olympic Committee strength and conditioning coach, accepted the assignment. Bosse recalls his first impressions. “Gunneswaran had a lot of trouble with injuries and recovery. He was unable to play a full season of tournaments as a result of this. We had to find out why this was happening, and how to correct it.”

The Dutchman decided that his ward had to work on his strength, power and endurance. “We also drew up his tournament schedule, daily fitness routines and rest periods. All these aspects are vital for injury prevention. We have been together for about 18 months now,” he says.

The results began to show. Gunneswaran went through an injury-free 2016 season, where he competed in 19 tournaments. He also earned successive call-ups to the Indian Davis Cup squad. The southpaw won the first singles rubber against Uzbekistan in his most recent Davis Cup outing (earlier this month), helping India earn a World Group play-off spot. Gunneswaran is all praise for Bosse. “He is extremely good. I’m in constant touch with Bosse, and I’ve been getting my training plans from him. He has me on the right track when it comes to fitness,” the 27-year-old Gunneswaran says.

Bosse has been visiting Indian cities to conduct workshops. Through his company, Incrato European Fitness Academy, he aims to guide coaches. “We want coaches to understand the basics of strength and conditioning, and how it can be used to cater to an individual’s requirements. Strength, speed, stamina, endurance and flexibility — these qualities are common to all sports. But it is vital to know how to maximise the effect of these qualities,” Bosse says.

When he is not involved in workshops, Bosse is busy with Olympic athletes in Netherlands. He worked closely with three medals winners at the 2016 Rio Olympics - Elis Ligtlee (gold in women’s keirin cycling), Matthijs Buchli (silver in men’s keirin cycling) and Jelle van Gorkom (silver in BMX). “The first two years after the Olympics games is spent in trying out new techniques and modules. We then pick a routine, and we don’t tinker with it in the two years leading up to the next Olympics,” he says.


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