Running kids down is not coaching

THE long wait for a plan to revive sports in schools has finally ended.

Recently, the Education Ministry announced that sports activities would be made compulsory in the 10,000 schools nationwide starting next year, and that each student would be required to select a game of his or her choice.

Sports associations and organisations say they are ready to play their part to support the ministry’s effort to revamp the schools’ sports programme. Indeed, the effective implementation of programmes at grassroots level is integral. This is where talent is nurtured and cultivated.

However, based on observations and complaints from parents, one wonders how well sports associations and organisations are managing the talented kids under them.

After hearing vociferous complaints from parents, I decided to sit in at some of the training sessions at various venues to check out the veracity of what’s being said.

I was concerned with what I saw.

Some of the children were bullied and shouted at. There did not appear to be any proper guidance.

The kids were not told what the do’s and don’ts of the game were.

The dressing down of some of the students, some no older than 9, got were cringe-worthy and embarrassing, to say the least.

Parents said mischievous kids were “sidelined”, even though being “naughty” is all part and parcel of being a child.

“The kids are not even given any form of motivation. So how can they be expected to excel?

“Some of them are very talented and they might represent and bring fame to our country like Datuk Nicol David, Datuk Lee Chong Wei and Shalin Zulkifli one day. It would be a waste if they were de-motivated by their coaches and dropped out.

“Hyperactive kids should be given advice, not sidelined and kept out of sight,” said one parent.

Another parent said when she first approached the sports organisation her child was now in, there were all kinds of promises from the coaches and management.

“We enrolled our children based on all these promises, but most of them have never materialised.

The kids, on their parts have done their bit and proved that they can excel and win tourmnets.

However, some of these children become jaded after a while as they are not given the proper guidance and motivation. Are the coaches even properly trained?

“The kids’ potential is wasted. These kids are shouted at and embarrassed in public or when other players are around watching or listening. This is not fair.

“Sports organisations and coaches are not supposed to do this.

“They are trained to bring out the potential and capability in every player they train. They should be fair to everyone.”

I totally agree with what the parents have said after observing the goings-on at several stadiums.

Every child should be given a fair chance to move up to the next level. There should be no favouritism.

A child’s potential should not be crushed just because he or she is “naughty”.

If talented children are not given an opportunity to progress, it will slowly kill their interest in the sport.

All sports organisations and coaches in all states should be keenly monitored and evaluated.

After what I have observed the past few months, I strongly feel that the government and sports authorities should seriously look into the issue before we lose our pool of young talent in sports.

by Kalavaani Karupiah.

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