Friday, November 06, 2009

True or False?

Recently there are a few unsatisfied sounding letters in the newspaper by the public regarding squash and how it is handled. Read through below:

Develop bigger pool of talents (22/10, The Star)

I AGREE with the National Sports Council’s concern that Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia is not doing enough to develop young talents. The panic button should have been pressed a long time ago.

SRAM may disagree as they can quote you the numerous age group tournaments currently being held throughout the year to assist in unearthing young talents in squash. I do not deny that in terms of providing platforms to encourage talent in squash, Malaysia is among the best in the world.

However, it is what happens at the grassroots, state and eventually up to the national level that worries me. As in most sports, there is so much politicking going on within the association, both at the national and state levels, that its main objective to raise the level of the sport has become so obscured that it is no longer the priority of the association.

People are too busy manipulating and manoeuvring to ensure that their respective positions are safe and their personal interests are protected.

The development programmes at all levels should look into developing a bigger group of players instead of just focusing on one or two players. By developing bigger groups, this would translate to healthier competition.

State associations sometimes provide a chosen player with extra one-to-one coaching, sometimes at the expense of other players. When those not chosen – and their parents – see the disparity and become disgruntled as time goes on, the parents will just pull their children out of the programme.

Of course, the association would not feel impacted (and probably say good riddance) because that was what they wanted all along. But what they do not realise is that this could also mean that at some point in time, that chosen player may also become stagnant as he would not have the competition to spur him on further.

Due to this practice of focusing on one chosen player, it has also created an unhealthy atmosphere as parents will jostle and do whatever it takes to make sure that their child becomes the chosen one.

Things can get downright ugly and the association committee members do not do anything about it and at times seem to be encouraging it. I have seen this happening with my own eyes and I am sure the SRAM is also very much aware of this not just at the state but also the national level as well.

So until such time these practices and culture of favouritism are put to a stop, we would be so lucky if we can find a deserving heir to Nicol’s throne.


Petaling Jaya.

Put a stop to culture of favouritism in squash (27/10, The Star)

I COULDN’T agree more with Rakyat Biasa about the ugly atmosphere in the squash community as observed in the letter “Develop bigger pool of talents” (The Star, Oct 22).

In order to provide platforms to promote talent in squash in the country, we have to put a stop to the culture of favouritism immediately, be it at the state or national level.

In the selection of players,the coaches and the associations must choose the best players.

They should not make their decisions based on personal preferences and interest and the players should be selected based on merit and be treated fairly by all concerned.

Many a time, players (and their parents) who have fallen out of favour with the coaches or officials are sidelined and treated such that eventually they would give up the game altogether.


Subang Jaya.

Favouritism a major obstacle to squash glory (30/10, The Star)

I REFER to the letters “Develop bigger pool of talents” from Rakyat Biasa (The Star, Oct 22) and “Put a stop to culture of favouritism in squash” from Interested Observer (The Star, Oct 27). I agree with both writers that the atmosphere in the squash community is indeed very ugly.

The unhealthy practice of favouritism and double standards should be stopped immediately if we are serious about providing platforms to promote squash talents in Malaysia. All selections must be done fairly and be based on merit, not on personal preferences or other obscure reasons.

There are also some coaches or officials who are so pompous, arrogant and full of themselves that one wonders whether they are there to promote themselves or the sport.

So until such time the associations, both state and national, are manned by those who truly and honestly want to see Malaysian squash flourish, the current lack of potential top players in the country will remain status quo.

Shah Alam.

Firstly, will you people who wrote this be man enough and contact me? Or are you just willing to hide behind pseudonyms? This is a direct challenge I am throwing to whoever has a concern, a honest concern of the sport rather than their own interest. For all I know, the writers maybe the ones who's kids did not make the grade.

Secondly, to build a bigger base? Will that ensure us better players? We already are having about 4 times more juniors from Nicol, Azlan or Beng Hee's time and yet no one is close to that level of play in the juniors. Plus, maybe the writers don't really know this, they all had a daily session of one to one with their respective coaches!

Thirdly, please, please and pretty please, do volunteer yourselves into do coaching or even get into the committee of the SRAs and then make the changes if you can. Try it and then see how "easy" it is.

There are some good points there to ponder if it is true. Transparency and accountability is an area to be looked into, or maybe dispersion of information, correct information. Unless you get to listen to all parties there maybe a biased or even totally wrong piece of info that goes around.

Full time coaches are provided to ensure that the talents are given special training to accelerate their progress and not to any player. Plus, how many players can one person handle? You don't see all the top players in the world sharing a coach, do you?

And as the sport becomes bigger and bigger with more people taking part in it, I am very sure more parents wants only what is best for their kids. I can go on and on about this but let's end it here.

Cheers and happy squashing.