Prashant is another young talent coming through the ranks of SRM College, Chennai, with lots of potential. The Black Hawks Hyderabad setter by his unpredictive moves and fast sets. When he’s on fire it’s difficult to read his moves.
Prashant hails from a family well accustomed with volleyball: His father stood out as the best in his times and both of his sisters are also volleyball players.
In the interview, the 23-year-old, Vizag native opens up about his role on the team as a breed of new and young players are introduced to the Black Hawks Hyderabad in its first Pro Volleyball League. He also talks about the role his father played in him becoming a volleyball player. We hope you enjoy learning a bit more about Prashant, and can take away some valuable insights from what he has to share!
Tell us a little bit about your background. And how you developed a passion for volleyball?
I actually belong to an athletic family. A lot of people unaware that my father was a volleyball player and he was the best during his time. Me and my sisters grew up watching him play and that’s how I started playing volleyball in school and it slowly became my passion. Both of my sisters also play volleyball. My second sister had played SGFI thrice when we were in school and I was jealous of it. She inspired me to do good and gave me the nudge to play and achieve a lot more in future
Since India does not have any prominent names in the field of volleyball as it does in sports like, say, cricket or hockey, what made you choose volleyball and how did you develop your sports career? And who has been your inspiration?
Yes, India does not have any prominent names in the field of Volleyball. The fact that it is not so well known among the laymen did not really hit my mind. I grew up watching Volleyball and it just stayed in my heart. I always wanted to play. My father has been and always will be my inspiration, but I believe people are getting to know it these days with tournaments such as Pro Volleyball League emerging. For instance Kabaddi did not have the same reputation it has now a few years ago, but the Pro Kabbadi League and the sponsorships and endorsements are making the sport rise.
Similarly volleyball will rise in the mind and hearts of people once prominent and well known people who can influence the society promote, endorse and talk about this sport (Volleyball). Currently it is escalating to the position of prominence and soon it will be there.
What position do you play on the team? What are some challenges that you have faced?
I play the position of a setter/lifter. There are a lot of challenges I have faced and the most important one of them is keeping myself content and getting the team together for a fight because a setter’s position is the most important in any game. A setter binds the team together and acts as the backbone of the team. The setter has to apply the mind in order to take the team forward. So keeping myself content together with the team is one of the main challenges.
How would you describe your game to people who haven’t seen you play?
I would describe it as the position that sets the attack of the team and about my game I would describe it as a learner because there is always something new to learn for me. In every session of practice and every match I play, there is something new to learn. So my game is that of an ambitious learner.
Who is your favorite volleyball player and why?
My father because no matter how tough he never gave up playing the game and he gave up on everything for the sport.
How did your volleyball career shape during the college time, what has the sport taught you at the time?
During my college time, I was under Mr. Dakshina Moorty Ji and he shaped me. He has the highest hand in shaping me. I had played a lot of tournaments including universities and it gave me a good hand experience. I learned the most when I was under Dakshina Murty Ji and also in the Youth India Camp.
The sport has taught me to be strong, tough and courageous. It has also taught me a lot about being a team mate and team work, treating my team as my family and to be courageous.
How do you prepare for a game that’s different from your teammates?
My preparation for a game is entirely different from my team mates since I practice for setting the ball instead of attacking or defense. So I practice drills mostly on setting the ball perfectly to the attacker.
What’s that best match that you have ever played? And against which team it was?
The best match I would say is when I was playing Youth international against Thailand. It was a very memorable match for me.
Looking back at your school/college days and now, how did you think you evolved as a player and in what area do you feel you have improved the most? And what’s something you want to add to your game or get better at as you go into PRO Volleyball League, playing for the Black Hawks Hyderabad?
I have evolved to a great extent because in school we only played school level and under 14 and sub juniors and juniors and etc. there is a huge difference in terms of standards between the two levels and so I leveled up my game and performance to match it. Evolving through time and standard is very important. School and college has given me a lot of firsthand experience and it helped me grow. I want to add a lot more to my game. Like I said, there is always something or the other to learn. There is always a new thing to learn. I would like to achieve more and do wonders.
Do you think the inception of PRO Volleyball League will be a huge hit that is required for the progression of volleyball in India?
Yes, definitely. It has already gathered a group of audience and once the league gets endorsements and promotions by well known personalities and influencers, it’ll definitely hit peaks.
How did the chance of playing for PVL (Black Hawks Hyderabad) come up?
It’s actually quite interesting for I wasn’t chosen in the auction initially. Later, one of the setters of the Black Hawks team fell ill and I was called in for his place. Two days into my practice and the other setter also injured himself and I was practicing alone. Anyhow within a couple of days both the setters recovered and were back on track but then later I was put into the team.
What do you feel are your main strength in volleyball?
My main strength would be my height and my skill and courage will be topping the list.
What is the best feeling about being setter? What is the worst?
The best feeling about being a setter is that the team moves forward because of you. When the ball you set is decided and the team gets a point, it gives the setter immense pleasure. The worst would be the pressure it builds to make things possible and get that win. Since the entire offense depends on how the setter sets the ball, it is a lot of pressure to handle and tackle.
What have been your major highlights/achievements in volleyball?
Major would be playing for my mother land India at the Youth International Championship followed by playing and leading the team of State of Andhra Pradesh in the Senior Nationals championship.
What are some of your medium/short term goals? (within the next year or so)
To play for the senior men team and represent our mother land, India.
Sport other than volleyball: Basketball and Cricket
Your favourite past time? Watching movies and riding bicycle
What’s your favorite volleyball move: Sync attack
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