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Sports’ greatest guiding lights of all time

Personalities like Sachin Tendulkar and PV Sindhu are examples of world-beaters led by great mentors and so on the occasion of Teachers’ Day, we delve into some of the best pupil-teacher relationships in sport.

Behind every successful sportsman or woman lies a great coach. And today being Teachers’ Day, there couldn’t have been a better reason to celebrate some of the greatest mentors of all times.


One of the most inspiring journeys shared by a teacher and his student started in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park. Ramakant Achrekar’s technique of placing a one-rupee coin on top of the wicket produced a talent like Sachin Tendulkar, who carried a billion hopes every time he walked on to cricket grounds around the world but he always credited as learning the basics of his craft to Achrekar.

The Master Blaster went on to give the sport many memorable moments to cherish but to this day, he always made it a point to give credit where its due. Even today, Tendulkar sent out a tweet greeting his mentor on the occasion of Teacher’s Day.


Badminton hit a new high in India when PV Sindhu brought home the country’s highest Olympic accolade in the sport. Chants of her name were heard around the world last month when she brought home a gold medal from the World Championships in Basel.

Sindhu’s climb towards success came from an early age when Pullela Gopichand took charge of training the fifth-seeding women’s singles badminton player. She followed his guidelines in spite of the rigours it placed on her social life and today, the results speak for themselves.


Pep Guardiola changed the way football was played in England. In his early days with Manchester City, the fans did not agree to the so-called ‘Tippy-Tappy’ style of football he brought with him. But little did they know that his tactics and continuous encouragement towards the players would see them win their fourth English Premier League title.

This was also Pep’s first title in English football after winning several titles in Spain, Germany and the European championships. The Citizens’ boss is also currently celebrated as football’s best coach in the world and a teacher to aspiring managers in the sport.


The National Basketball Association (NBA) celebrates Phil Jackson as one of the greatest mentors and coaches in the sport of basketball. He was the go-to person whenever the world’s best players would find themselves in a fix. Jackson would put his team before everything else and is recognised mainly for grooming some of the biggest names in basketball including the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal.

Phil Jackson also stands as the man responsible for winning 10 NBA Championships and is celebrated as one of the sport’s most renowned mentors.