Supporting Kids in Sport - helping them build a career in sport

To begin with, let’s divide the kids between ‘Haves’ and ‘Have-nots’

The Haves : Parents of these kids move mountains to make sure their kids have a career in sport. With sports facilities like ‘Padukone - Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence’ in Bangalore, parents have relocated closer to the facility so their kids can train more frequently. I believe the Haves are sorted.

The Have-nots : This is where the talent, the aspiration and the drive is.

The problems both boys and girls currently face:

  1. There is no formal academy training as they cannot afford the fee of 3-5k per month.

  2. Alot of these kids have single parents who find it difficult to send them to school - these kids find odd jobs to help out and don’t go to school.

  3. Transportation is a big problem as there are no early morning buses that can take them to the practise sessions.

  4. These kids cannot buy kits/jerseys and depend on hand me downs. The girls find it difficult to buy sports bras and generally stop playing after puberty.

  5. They cannot play tournaments as the registration fees per head is high - generally 2500.

  6. Food is a real problem - these kids are used to eating once a day and don’t prioritise all three meals. For example: the food is usually sambhar and rice and most kids don’t eat the vegetables in the sambhar. Their parents bring up this issue with the coaches frequently.
    The kids don’t understand the concept of nutrition and are usually quite small built because of the lack of education around the importance of food.

These are 6 glaring problems that talented kids face.

So what can Rainmatter do to help?

I have identified 1 academy and 1 collective that who do really good work for kids from marginalized backgrounds that Rainmatter could support.

  1. BLFA
    BFLA has 10 girls from marginalized communities who are their ‘scholarship students’ the coaches often go out of their way to pick up the kids for early morning practise, they pay a large part of their school fees and do not charge them for the training sessions or kits. They work closely with the parents of these young kids to make sure the kids stay in school.

  2. Pass Collective
    Pass takes sport to low income group communities, they look at the holistic development of kids and work hard at educating both the kids and their parents about the importance and the benefit of sport.

What are the problems collectives and academies face?

  1. High Ground Fee rentals
  2. HR - getting the right coaches who will be role models to the kids.
  3. Transportation
  4. Keeping the kids in school
  5. Training fees

BFLA pays 50% of scholarship girls college fees - they pay it directly to the college as they don’t want the parents to access the money.

Supporting good academies and collectives would really help talented kids stay in school while making sports a career.


@Dilip maybe speak to @Jayanti on this?

@Jayanti, whatever we do, the idea is to find a way to scale it—even the impact from any giving forward. Supporting one academy, I don’t know will change what. And why this academy and not the many others? We think along these lines internally.

By the way, I think that people who take sports seriously should ideally be given additional weightage when applying for colleges or jobs. I think playing a sport builds character and teaches many life lessons that might also be useful in professional life. Not just sports but volunteering for social causes, pursuing hobbies seriously, and more. So, how do you nudge corporates to think beyond educational degrees and professional experience? If we can change this mindset, everything else will happen automatically.

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@NithinKamath , @Jayanti & I’d connected on this topic. Bringing conversations around sports as an enabler in mainstream. Not limited to making of a sportsperson but empower kids & people around them to use sports as a tool to live healthy and find their mojo in life :slight_smile:

Inviting some of these kids/parents who are following this narrative and share their ‘why’ story.

Paging @ShweShetty @thakurtho @Jayanti to help reach out to folks we can talk to.

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Sports = Life Skills. :100:
Sports helps build collaboration, leadership, team spirit…
As important for the Have-nots described above. It keeps them away from many social evils that accompany their challenging childhood.


@NithinKamath I did a little digging around and spoke to multiple professional sports people who were trying to balance a job and a sport.

Here’s what’s happening:

There is zero support from the companies they work in, some are not allowed to talk about sport on linkedin. Managers don’t give them any time off during tournaments and very often they have to use their ‘leave days’ to play a tournament.
Sport is seen as ‘time away from work.’

Also, as there is no 'sports culture in India - parents do not support them as they see no future in sport. They feel like they are constantly ‘giving their heart but don’t get anything in return.’

Have - nots
Their parents want them to drop sport all together as they don’t see them making any money from it. There is a lot pressure to find jobs in the public sector as that would mean a guaranteed salary and govt. benefits.
A lot of them have to play sport on the sly - their siblings cover for them/ step in for them.

They find it particularly difficult as they need the salary coming in from a regular job but stagnate as they can’t reach their potential as a sportsperson.

From what I understood, a career in sport in India is not seen as a viable/lucrative option There is zero support in the corporate world for sport right across.

So how does this change - how do you “nudge corporates to think beyond educational degrees and professional experience?”

  • Create an environment where sportspeople can thrive.

  • Start with home ground - Zerodha.

  • Hire people based on their sportsmanship from both the haves and have - nots.

  • They become the ambassadors of health and bring more sport into the company. With sport, comes team spirit and discipline that benefit all in the long run.

  • SAP seems to be doing a good job with this - they have both inter and intra competitions and a SAP employee said “corporate life becomes much easier when there is sport as common ground.”

  • Zerodha could start a bi - annual corporate sporting event - make it attractive enough and open it only to corporates where the recently hired people under the sports quota play.

  • It should become like a TCS event but for only corporates.

@adnanadeeb’s experience would go a long way in giving this more structure.

Here’s a quote from someone I spoke to about this: “Every manager wants you to be a good leader and it’s through sport you learn Communication, Leadership, Collaboration and Decision making - Sport gives you life skills.”


Hi everyone, I’m new here. @Jayanti introduced this forum to me since I work at BFLA and also play football(currently training with a super division club). I support myself by teaching yoga and also by working with the club. I come from a background similar to what she described so based on this & where I work now, I’d like to share some thoughts.

To make sport an attractive proposition for parents we need to provide:
#1 FINANCIAL AID- Take the first level of financial burden off them. Which means sponsoring their sports education. (Academies fees, infrastructure, equipment costs, players needs like good quality clothing, football shoes, food, recovery equipment, gym fees, even transportation to & from training).

From BFLA’s perspective, we would love to build a large academy with 30-50 players. To make this possible, we need to be able to cover all the above said costs. We want to provide good coaches( a professional session for 30 players will need 1 head coach, 2 asst coaches & a goal keeping coach ideally); strength training at good facilities like Peak Performance or Rapid Sports (in bangalore); protein & recovery(Fast & Up, Ice baths etc etc); team kits(training uniforms, playing uniforms etc every year), tournament fees, transportation etc & so on. This is the short term dream. Long term, sky is the limit. :slight_smile:

An approximate costing assuming 20 players & 2-3 coaches:-
Ground fees- assuming 3 sessions/week- 40k/month
Coaches- 50k/month
Protein & Recovery supplements- 50-80k/month(MuscleBlaze a jar is 2200, Fast & Up one tube is ~700. Averaging 20 players( 1jar & 2 tubes per player), 207002 + 2200* 20 = 72k/month
Team kits- 150020= 30k/year
Football studs,sports bras- 20
4000 = 80k/year
Tournament costs- around 10-25k/year(if we do not play TAL who charges 47k/team registration)
Thats a total of almost 1.2L/month plus once a year expense of 1.1L. We have to not built into 20 yet & we definitely cannot afford 3 coaches. We make do with 1-2 coaches & 2x/week training.

As of now we have 10 girls in the community program. (Their studs are all hand me downs or the lowest Kipsta versions and i hate to think about how they manage sports bras. The good Nike ones are very very expensive) We provide them free training & help with transport as much as possible. Plus any academic needs where possible based on the kindness of individuals who support. It comes from a place of passion & wanting to improve women’s football from the grassroots level. We would love it if you could support us.

#2 MAKE FOOTBALL FINANCIALLY PROFITABLE FOR PLAYERS- Money in return for effort & time just like any other job. For this we can conduct tournaments that have prize money. Fund academies & clubs so that they can pay their senior athletes & professionals. Individually, getting sponsored by brands etc is another way but this does not solve the problem for the majority.

#3 Building the sport up in the culture- Increasing amateur participation by providing amateur training & tournaments, Increase viewership by marketing local leagues attractively. (#3 is not my area of expertise, just sharing thoughts)



We (Game Theory) have been very close to this topic. We’ve done some experiments as well. There are a few things naturally happening at Game Theory that helps us support have-nots.

Few challenges that @Jayanti listed out & our solution in bold

@NithinKamath Wrt to scale, we’re continuously adding more centres. Across all our centres we can start delivering classes.

I believe the colleges will value this if colleges can extract value out of talent. The US is really good at it. NCAA like format needs to happen in India. What can it solve

  1. More value for coaches = currently athletes retire at 30yrs. There needs to be reliable jobs
  2. Economics of sports = NCAA has made more money than pro leagues in some cases
  3. Culture of sports = when our kids play in packed stadiums, the involvement will drive the culture

How do we think of this?
We’re building tech to aid coaching. Although this might take a few more months, we’re heading towards automated skill level measurements. We can even send sponsors progress reports, tournament stats & videos of the young athlete.

Where do we struggle?
Our biggest challenge has been around getting more kids through the door (includes transportation problem). As a small startup we haven’t been able to dedicate resources for this.

Parting thoughts
I believe we should focus on delivering the joy of sports. The impact can be multi-fold - finding talent, physical & mental development, leadership, reduction of crime rates etc.


We are specifically looking to improve the grassroots girls team & take them to the B-DIVISION this and build up to a SUPER DIVISION club in the future.

We face the issue of transportation too. Our training fees are basically ground fees ,coaches fees plus club costs(admin, logistics etc). These are currently covered by the club itself a lot of times at a loss to the club. We have full time coaches and will need to hire more senior coaches to reach what we aim to achieve. The kids will stay in school if we can partially or fully offer scholarships for school fees. This needs to be taken on a case by case basis. If we can start with funding their football education, we can look towards progressing further.

To keep the communication up, we can share updates on training, tournaments played/won/lost, trials, provide access to training sessions & interactions with players etc.


We work in the sports + kids + training space and " delivering the joy of sports" / “tech to aid coaching” resonate strongly with us too, @Sudeep. More power to you and Game Theory.

SportIt uses the 3C approach - Coach, Curriculum & Community for kids to enjoy and learn sports like never before.

Getting more kids for after school sports is a challenge. Our estimate is that ~4% kids participate in after school sports (from a small sample). The biggest challenge is that parent’s find it difficult to manage their calendars to find time to pick up/drop kids for sports in the evening.

Therefore, for a bigger impact we work with schools. School is the first playground for children to exercise and develop their personalities, social skills and aspirations. The kids spend an average of 8 hours every day in school. It is therefore important to intervene at the school level to ensure that kids play and enjoy sports so that fitness becomes a part of their life.



One of the most important aspects of achieving success in sports lies in the identification of talents which are suitable for various Sports/Games in an early stage of childhood.

The countries that have implemented a systematic and scientific sports talent identification program undisputedly achieved laurels in international sports events.

The mistakes parents and educational institutions generally do is selecting a sport for the child merely considering the anthropometric aspects like height, weight etc where as the talent needs to be identified considering lot many other aspects like physical, physiological, psychological and technical components and their interaction to each other.

The limitations for employing the anthropometrical and physiological factors to identify talent are mentioned because of their instability during adolescence/maturation.

The other influencing factors for the selection sports/games are PEER OR PARENTAL PRESSURE, POPULARITY OF SPORTS/GAMES, PROXIMITY TO THE FACILITIES.

We at Staunch Sports and Fitness have developed a TALENT IDENTIFICATION & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM with my experience with the ARMED FORCES SPORTS MEDICINE CENTRE to predict the future performance of a child in a suitable sport/game based upon an evaluation of Physical, Technical, Tactical and Physiological qualities through a battery of tests which includes around 20 motor abilities and parameters.