Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a matter of trust

Why does Malaysia have a need for foreign coaches to do the job at most of the levels? I am speaking of squash here.. It is all about trust and repaying that trust. You see, the mentality that foreign coaches are the better lot is the set mentality of most people in the squash fraternity. In fact, I was speaking to a former administrator of the game and he was adamant that only a foreigner was good enough to raise the level of the players to where Nicol, Azlan and Beng Hee is. To him locals will never be able to do it. And there are many others like him out there.

Yes, as much as I hate to admit it, locals have some lacking areas compared to our foreign counterparts. But here lies the dilemma, do we allow locals to make the mistakes and learn from it to enable a learning process and in the long run improve the standard of coaching? And for certain there will be many mistakes made along the way!

Do the administrators of the sport believe that local coaches can make the improvements and raise their standards? Can the local coaches repay that trust given and ensure they work their asses off and improve themselves first before asking about the monetary rewards? So you see, here lies the problem, there is no trust. But in this world where coming and going of coaches are so frequent, that problem should not arise. Keep replacing till you find the right one.

16 years in Malaysian squash and I am ashamed that we still have foreign coaches running our national team and state team programs. Hong Kong, India, Japan and even Korea are all local. Hong Kong can get Annie Au into the top 20 totally based in Hong Kong and trained by locals. And mind you, the coaches were only average players just like me.. hahaha. But they were given the trust and they took it and repaid that trust.

To summarize it, it takes trust and believe to give someone an opportunity to prove something, a major point lacking in this country. If that trust and believe is not there then no use even going any further.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Is this true?

Sportcheck: Coaching Board wants to go local


THE National Coaching Board is planning on making Malaysian sports free of foreign coaches, and in the long run, start exporting local coaches as well. A three-day seminar, which started in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, began with the plan outlined in Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri's speech which was read by his deputy Wee Jack Seng.

"For far too long, we have relied on foreign expertise to train our athletes, and I feel it is time we upgraded the quality of our coaching outfit, and stop relying on foreign expertise.

"My aspiration is for local coaches to take over the reign of local sports and in the long run, make them sought after by other countries," said Ismail Sabri.

National Coaching Board chairman Dr Ahmad Munir, who received his appointment letter a few days back, concurs with the idea.

"We have two plans. One is a short term goal which will see us having an in-depth look at all 299 local coaches who have Level III certificates. We want to see how many are active, and how many have stopped after getting their paperwork.

"Then, we will use the Australian coaching system as a guideline, and train a select group to be professionals in their respective fields.

"Hopefully, in the long run, we will start exporting coaches as well," said Ahmad.

Ahmad is a senior lecturer with Universiti Malaya, and the National Sports Council (NSC) is looking to rope him in, on secondment, to realise this dream.

Meanwhile, NSC director general Datuk Zolkples Embong said former football players, and coaches with certificates are now free to coach in schools.

"Previously, there were restrictions as only teachers were allowed to coach football in schools. But after the Sports Minister had a discussion with the Education Ministry, outsiders can now coach football in schools," said Zolkples.

© Copyright 2009 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.

This is an article from the NST dated 27th February 2007 which sounds familiar to me like when the previous Sports Minister announced a grand income structure for local coaches but was never implemented. Can this be another deja vu? I can't really tell at the moment but it was, then great.

I have been a long time advocate of Made in Malaysia by Malaysians concept for squash. The need for foreigners are there but more in the as when needed basis. For example, squash players need to be in Europe for a certain time due to the nature of the competition scheduling. As such, a coach there to oversee and help coordinate the players can be helpful. Getting new ideas or methods through collaborations can also help. But the day to day running should and must be localized.

I have seen that in the last 16 years the good and the bad of foreign and local coaches. Locals have a genuine grouse of not having the opportunity while the foreigners have accountability, to a certain degree of course. But we need locals to step up and take a challenge and to prove themselves better or at least at par with the foreigners that have come through our shores. Yes, a lot of them have played the game at a higher level than the locals but that is just one part. If locals can outshine them in other parts of coaching, then those areas can account and compensate for the one lacking ares.

So to all my fellow local coaches, stand up and be counted for. Do not wait for the handouts. Cheers and have a nice day.