Monday, August 24, 2009

Centralise or de-centralise?

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) should, by now, know that almost year-long centralised training has not produced any results at the international level.
In fact, the pampering of players has led to Malaysia free- falling to 16th in the world.
“There are different views on this matter, and it has been discussed many times, but personally, I feel the Malaysian players are still not ready for de-centralised training,” said National coach Tai Beng Hai.
The main reason, according to Beng Hai, in keeping the players in camp for long periods is fitness.
“We have tried giving individual players training pro grammes when there is a long break. But they return with extra kilos, and it only shows that they do not follow the fitness regime when away from camp.
“It will defeat the purpose if I have to conduct fitness training all over again to prepare for a tournament like, say, the World Cup qualifier in November,” said Beng Hai.
The evidence of a huge gap among European teams and Malaysia came to light again when Champions Challenge II winners Poland were hammered 9-0 by Netherlands and 3-0 by Spain in the ongoing EuroNationas Championships which is also a qualifier for the New Delhi World Cup, and offers four tickets to semi-finalists.
And Down Under, an e-mail from former Malaysian coach Paul Lissek advised Malaysia to do away with centralised training.
Lissek, a consultant with Australia now said: “In Australia players like Brent Livermore (pic) can still play in the national team despite not training with them but working far from Perth near Brisbane and staying with his family.
“Their main advantage is that players are very liberal and independent, which means they have a lot of self-discipline. The Australian players come for individual training-sessions and follow their different plan.
“They train with different coaches and they also come for individual video-sessions, and sit with a coach to discuss. The methodical principal ‘players as partners’ not ‘players as schoolboys’ makes the difference.
“Sometimes players work in groups on their particular issues and solve it themselves,” said Lissek.
Beng Hai feels the time is not right yet for decentralised training: “Malaysian players are not ready for de-centralised training as they do not have the discipline to work on their own when given a break.
“However, there is a possibility that the de-centralised system could be implemented in the near future,” said Beng Hai.
Centralised training has produced mediocre players, while decentralised training has produced Olympic champions, the MHF should have another look at their training programme for next year.