Grass-roots Hockey in Malaysia, Uprooted?

where to malaysian-hockey

where to, Malaysian hockey?

I admire Lawrence Van Huizen. Remembered him as the old white bearded man with a walking stick looking like “father time”. Standing at the side-line, intensely observing youngsters in an intra-school hockey game at the NS padang. This was back then in the 80’s. I was playing that time. He gave a lot for the sport that he loves, so I dedicate this long winded blah-blah as a tribute to him.

Hockey should be brought down to the grassroots level again. Elitism has no place in sports. Look at the hockey scene in our secondary school today, many schools dont have a proper hockey field, let alone a proper hockey team. Hockey is not soccer, not a game which they learn to play in front of their kampung houses, let alone under the high-rise residential flats/apartment blocks. Hockey needs proper coaching during school time on the school hockey field. It needed special equipments which cost beyond most schools could afford. It needed trained hockey teachers/coaches not just stand-in coach who never played the game in their life. The ministry of education must make it compulsory for schools to have a hockey team. Hockey is the only team-sports that we at least can say we are world contenders (soccer??–come on get real).

And hockey needs good administrators within state and national HA. These HA need to register all these developing school hockey players- track, grade and rate them. Provide assistance to schools, not just for your glorified sports schools, which in my opinion kill the school hockey scene in Malaysia.

Why not develop a system of which when schools produce a number better rated players, they would be rewarded with special grants for hockey equipments for the achieving players. This is better than “stealing” these player for your over glorified sports schools and depriving the local school of the fruit their hard work.

Thinking players start at school where we educate them. Be gone with one or two days hockey tournament at school level, these lend no credence in education. How could we prepare our players if we could not do post-mortem analysis and remedial after a game and then train and strategise for the next game. Post-mortem analysis and remedial work are critical not only for sports but for our approach in education as a whole. Furthermore these one/two days tournament that are so prevalent in our school sporting calendar breeds an attitude that two week training time is more than appropriate for a such short endeavour. This explains the decline of hockey in schools.

Local businesses should be encouraged to adopt their local school team- when I mean local I do not meant the big corporation. Remember we need local grassroots’ support not corporate bigwig–to draw interest from the local community. Make them feel that they have a stake in their local school team. For the small “mom & pop” local shop, it is adequate if they sponsored the team jerseys etc, some space for advertisement should be allocated for them. The main thing is grassroots involvement. Remember! Brazilian soccer is a grassroots phenomenon not a corporate product in the first place.

There are many reasons why HA should registered hockey players other than the reasons above. It will enabled the effort to encourage local communities to set-up hockey clubs by giving them monetary incentive (for basic facilities) and an ultimatum (a carrot and a big stick strategy) when there are a abundant registered better rated player in their community. Later on, adapt the earlier plan of involving local businesses to have a stake in their local clubs, give them tax exemption ( you could call it direct funding for the citizen).

As for the registered players this is a continuum of their involvement in the sports they love. The seed of the game they love in once nurtured at school would be sown now in a larger  field that will attract and promote the sport within their local county/district. It will enlarge the pool of players at the local level and statistically viable to find gems in this large pool of players.

Fee paying registered player should be provided insurance coverage for injuries (a great hindrance for the sports uptake) that they received in the course of hockey. It about time insurance company (better than tobacco co.) give back to society, after all healthy clients are better clients. These insurance companies should be involved not just as profit makers but pioneers in a new perspective in sport industry. Make Sports Insurance coverage as a health and lifestyle product.  Couldn’t hurt to sponsor a hockey national league then I supposed. Employers whose employees miss work days because of sport related injuries would not be too worry about footing the medical bill. Thus their apprehension of their employees involvement in sports  would be considerably lessens.

Tournament should be held throughout the year at this level which would culminate with the state championship. The HA must provide not only umpires but talent scouts for these sanctioned matches. This is way better than spending millions to bring in foreign coach who would be dumbfounded to why the National Hockey Association wanted to revive a dead sport in Malaysia. At least give these reputable coaches a large pool of players to choose from. Well you could forget the foreign coach altogether, with enough time these clubs will surely produce local coaches and administrators who are more than capable to shape the future of hockey in Malaysia.

p.s** My school ended SPI hockey dominance that year.


One Response

  1. I am not really a random passer by, I happen to find your blog thru your FB account. It’s a long story, really.

    But those are all besides the point. I’m dropping by to say I really admire your views on every issue, though I may not agree on all. Your writing is superb, and keep it up and kudos to you.

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