Getting to Know Kabaddi Sneakers and Match Preparation

High grip, low weight. It is, in essence, the kabaddi shoe. Think Onitsuka Tiger, once a staple of PT Usha and the entire Asian sports scene, and a pop culture icon after being used by Bruce Lee and then Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill.” (More sports news)

Kabaddi hit the headlines on Monday, September 26 during the 36th National Games in Ahmedabad. The matches started at the EKA TransStadia indoor stadium in Ahmedabad at 5 p.m. The backing sounds were eclectic. Dholak players in ethnic finery greeted the players.

Teammates cheered as the chosen seven walked the purple and yellow carpet, the colors reminiscent of the Los Angeles Lakers uniform. The referees whistled. And from time to time, a flock of pigeons beat the rafters of the stadium.

Among the winners of the day were the Maharashtra men’s and women’s teams. Hosts Gujarat also won the men’s competition.

The Maharashtra girls stunned national champions Himachal Pradesh, keeping their composure to win 32-31. The men routed Tamil Nadu 49-25. The Gujarat boys upset Goa 56-27. Late in the evening, Services crushed Chandigarh 66-32.

Between games, some players talked about their shoes, among other things.

World Cup winner and Haryana Steelers star Surender Nada said he carries a few pairs to games.

“Some shoes can last a few months, some can last a day, so you never know,” said the left-corner defender. “These are matte shoes, very different from the usual running shoes. They are soft and light.

Maharashtra captain Shankar Gadai spoke about the challenge of matching the shoe to the surface. “If the shoe or mat is very new, it becomes slippery for a player,” he said. “Shoes need the right amount of break-in. I prefer to wear a new pair several times in training before wearing them in matches.”

Gadai’s teammate, Rahul Khatik, when asked if Kabaddi shoes were similar to boxing, said, “Kabaddi shoes have a lot more grip. I would say they are quite different.

As for his favorite color for his kicks, Khatik said, with a smile: “That’s what the team decides. Right now it’s blue.

A player’s position determines the workload on their shoes. “The Raiders wear out their boots much faster,” said Maharashtra’s Mayur Kadam.

Even in the era of indoor kabaddi on carpeted surfaces, players still often play on natural ground, where they tend to play barefoot. “There are two different surfaces but you adapt, of course,” Kadam said.

Shoes aside, the players shared some details about the preparation for the match. How far kabaddi has come as a sport shows that teams have modern preparation techniques, including video analysis. Players also know the importance of nutrition, and know when to eat carbs and when to focus on protein.

“We usually have a meeting, with video analysis, the day before a match,” Khatik said. “On match days we relax, eat light but nutritious food and drink plenty of water, around six litres.”

We heard the one about genius being one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. Add hydration to this mix, along with shoes.

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