Sepak takraw is not the most well-known sport in the world, but the spectacular sport, that has a great vogue in Asia and is becoming more popular in the rest of the world. It wants to become an olympic sport. Thecircular.org author Marian Nadler spoke with Premanathan Ramanathan (28) from India about his sepak takraw experience. An interview about different sepak takraw tactics in different countries, the future of sepak takraw and an impressing sport. He recommended us a sepak takraw warm-up as well.
What is Sepak Takraw?
Why did you start playing sepak takraw?
Premanathan Ramanathan: During my school days my teacher came to me and told me about this new sport. When I first watched the game I was shocked! How these people were jumping high in the air, striking the ball, that was really impressing. After the first shock, it really gave me an interest to try this sport. Day by day my enjoyment for this sport grow. I decided to play it professional.
How popular is sepak takraw in India?
Premanathan Ramanathan: It is not that popular, but it is getting more popular in India.
Is the mentality important in the sepak takraw game?
Premanathan Ramanathan: Yes. I think in every game the mentality is a determining factor.
How does a typical warm-up of a sepak takraw player look like?
Premanathan Ramanathan: As with any sport, all sepak takraw sessions should start with a warm-up exercises. Sepak takraw requires high flexibility, agility and strength. Sepak takraw players should ensure that their muscles are properly warmed up before beginning any activities on the court.
Sepak takraw warm-up recommended by Premanathan Ramanathan
”Simple stretches would be a good way to start the warm-up session. Find a comfortable position on the ground, and sit cross legged. Stretch out a leg in front of you and bend to your toes, all while keeping your body lengthened and pressed close to your knee, with your chin reaching out for your ankle as far as possible. Hold in this position for half a minute, relax, then repeat this stretch with the other leg. After stretching move on to running a simple obstacle course made out of cones, in order to train your speed and agility. Place five cones in a straight line and run, zig-zag, through the cones. Repeat this activity, but run backwards this time. Having finished these basic drills, it is now time to work with the ball. Begin by familarising yourself with the feel of the ball with some low inside kicks- that is hitting the ball with the inside of your foot. Pass the ball from your left to your right foot while keeping it in the air at all times. Do so continously for about a minute. Rest, then repeat.
What was your sepak takraw highlight?
Premanathan Ramanathan: My highlight was seeing the acrobatics which are included in this sport. The best players around the globe are basically doing multiple backflips for every play. They are able to snap their feet above their head in a split second to kick the ball to the opponent court.
— A.R.Premanathan (@premtakraw) September 15, 2015
Which three players are in your opinion the best sepak takraw players in the world?
Premanathan Ramanathan: Pornchai (attacker), Pattrapong (feeder) and Sittipong (tekong). All three are from Thailand national team.
— ISTAF Sepaktakraw (@Sepaktakraw_ISS) October 22, 2015
How can sepak takraw become more popular?
Premanathan Ramanathan: At grass root level we need to popularise this game by arranging talent camps. Demonstrations of the game at schools could help to gain popularity. Sepak takraw can be popular only when it is introduced to school kids. Mostly in schools where sport is taken serious.
In your opinion, how will sepak takraw develop in the future?
Premanathan Ramanathan: Sepak Takraw will develop strongly in coming years. It has been a part of the Asian games. Recently we had an international tournament in France.
Can everybody play sepak takraw?
Premanathan Ramanathan: Yes, everybody can play takraw. Basically everybody can be heading and kicking a ball.
Are there different sepak takraw tactics depending on teams or countries?
Premanathan Ramanathan: Thailand always goes for roll spike smashes.
Malaysia and Japan mostly go with sun back smashes.
Brazil don’t use roll spike and sun back. They prefer chesting and heading as smash. Brazils game is unique and interesting.
Have a look at the sepak takraw rules: here