Tuesday, May 26, 2009

World Class

It starts with you wanting to be one, then thinking like one, then acting like one, next believing like one and finally becoming one. Did I get it right? I am sure it goes some thing like that. Don't know who said it but it has stuck with me all my squash life, both playing and now coaching. Is it that easy? Yes and no. Yes because it is the attitude change and that is somehow easier to do. No because the work and time needed to be invested for the change to happen is long and painful.

What am I actually rambling about? Everything in squash! How many future world class players do we have? How many world class coaches do we have? How many world class programs do we have? I dread to answer that. How many times have each one of us sat down and reviewed ourselves and found out weaknesses that we have but do not want to acknowledge it? Or if you acknowledge it, what kind of effort did you put in to rectify the weakness? To cut it short, knowing is one thing but doing is another.

All these brings me back to a big question, what are we to do when ND, OBH and AI retires? Why are we not able to have any back-up players to replace them? Simple, players just don't want it and coaches don't want it as well. Reason? Refer to 1st paragraph. What we have are full time squash players and not professional squash players. What we have are full time coaches and not high performance coaches. Are they different? Yes, like milk and cheese.

Our players (full time) are not looking at understanding the hows, why and whats of training and competitions. Too often they leave it to chance and if all fall in place it is like a lottery windfall. Ask them to replicate it and they have no idea what happened. Professionals on the other hand will look at every single detail constantly to find areas to improve on no matter how trivial it seems. Nothing is left to chance as their live depends on it. The will to squeeze every ounce of energy to focus and concentrate in every training session to achieve perfection is missing in our athletes. Maybe life is too easy for them. Given a great training centre, a place to stay, sports science services, tournaments and so on has made them complacent and taking things for granted. No one seems to push right through the roof and that is a big problem. Most complain that it is hard and tiring. Darn it! Get your act together people!

For coaches, FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL. The need to understand how to structure a high performance training program with the integration of the various sports science elements is the most crucial skill a modern day coach needs to have. One major skill that is also lacking is the determination to find solutions to a problem that arises when performances of athletes are on a plateau. I have heard so many excuses with regards to what the player can and cannot do but never once on how they are looking at solving the matter. Investing time into teaching a new skill or even working on a weakness is tough as the results will never be overnight. Fixing and tweaking every aspect of the player's game takes a lot of time and this is something that coaches sometimes are reluctant/lazy? to do.

I am still having hope in Malaysian squash to be a world class sport but it is getting less and less by the day as the search for the correct personnel is hitting a dead end.

Cheers and happy squashing.

There were 2 major junior events held recently, Milo All Star in Astaka and the Penang Junior Open. I didn't have my camera so no pictures. For the Milo All Star, please go to http://picasaweb.google.com/emross2007 and look for Milo All Star which has 6 days of pictures. As for the Penang Junior Open, can anyone send me pictures? Email me at allanps1@gmail.com

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Squash 2016 Day in Bukit Jalil

The World Squash Day 2006 a.k.a Squash 2016 Day at the National Training Centre was a nice event which coincided with the signing ceremony of SRAM's Rakan Sukan (Sports Partner) CIMB Bank through it's Corporate Social Responsability arm, the CIMB Foundation. We had a turn out of around 200 people and had a carnival like atmosphere for 2 hours leading up to the signing ceremony.

The place was decorated with balloons starting with the main entrance and the corridors leading to the squash courts.

People started showing up around 9.00am and were impatient in waiting for the events to start which was eventually delayed as some of the VIPs arrived a little late.

Our Emcees for the day were Jamie Hickox (National Head Coach) and Ms. Belinda Chee (8TV's Quickie fame and also daughter of our GM, Mr. Peter Chee.

The main trio, Jamie, Siva (Hon. Sec. of SRAM) and Peter (GM of SRAM

The VIPs, (L-R) Dato' Zol, Dato' Sani, Tunku Imran, the CIMB Foundation Chairman, Datuk Sieh Kok Chee

Malaysian No.1 squash player, Azlan Iskandar without his mouth open for once.. hehehe

Some of our national players helping out with registration of participants

Signing Ceremony of the Partnership (3rd term of a 2 year sponsorship)

That's all for now folks. Till next time, happy squashing.

Friday, May 01, 2009

After A Month

Entrance to Office

National Squash Centre where my new working place is

It has been a month since my appointment as National Men's Coach. So far, I am pretty happy as things have been going pretty smooth and much better than I expected. I have been given the task of turning the underachieving boys, Elvinn, Kam Hing and Asyraf into decent squash players. Easier said than done as the boys lack the discipline and professionalism of Azlan and Beng Hee. This is gonna be my biggest challenge ever and I am looking forward to overcoming it with the help of the boys. They need to buckle down and get use to the hard and painful rigours of training if they want to go somewhere. Talent is there but it is of no use if the dedication, discipline and professionalism is missing.

Having Beng Hee and Azlan around at the moment has been tremendous help in getting the players to understand the needs of being a professional athlete and the sacrifices that they have made to get up there. We also have Stefan Galifi here as a sparring player and also Ritwik Bhattarcharya from India here during April who was impressed with the training facilities available to the players here.

I have my own table and stuff in the office in Bukit Jalil which is next to Raymond Arnold. It's not much but serves it purpose. I also have rented a small 2 room apartment which is walking distance to the courts. I have not gotten down to making it my home yet but hopefully soon as I am still settling in with my work at the moment. Pictures of that will be coming soon if I can remember... Hahaha

Enjoy the pictures and happy squashing.

My work area

The courts