KUALA LUMPUR: At 60, many coaches would slow down but not badminton legend Datuk Misbun Sidek.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM)’s national junior development director Misbun is in fact going strong and even some of the juniors and coaches under his care are struggling to keep up with his pace.
Be it on court or via Zoom training – Misbun has not lost his touch, still persistent with his tough training regime and demands high level of discipline from his players.
“I still train together with the juniors. I can go on being on my feet for three hours with non-stop coaching. I’ve never looked at my age as a barrier. When I’m on court, I give above myself,” said Misbun.
It is this same standard and commitment that Misbun is looking for from his nine coaches and 70 juniors at the Academy Badminton Malaysia (ABM).
Misbun, who took up the post in February to strengthen the junior programme, has grand plans for the juniors but one of his main concerns is to ensure that he produces quality juniors into the senior team.
“In the past, many juniors who come through to the senior squad would stagnate. I want the training to be solid from Form 1 to Form 5 so that the transition from a junior to senior will be smooth,” said Misbun.
“By strengthening this area, we do not have to worry about juniors starting all over again in the senior ranks. We’ve wasted much time and talents!
“It’s not easy to put the processes right but I believe, with the right team of coaches, we can make it work.
“It will not be a one-man show. I will monitor the other coaches and transfer the knowledge I have to them. They will be given responsibilities but if they are stuck, I will step in to guide.”
The current junior coaches are Kwan Yoke Meng, Hafiz Hashim, Poh Chai Boon, Pang Cheh Chang, Lufti Zaim, Alvin Chew, Hazwan Jamaluddin, Amelia Anscelly and Zhang Hongyu.
Misbun also assured that every player would get his attention and he would not only focus on the top tier group. who are preparing for the Asian or world junior championships.
“I will focus on different players at different times but I’ll have an eye on everyone.
“If the Under-15 team are getting ready for their big tournament, I will spend time with the players and coaches. Everyone will get equal attention,” he said.
“What I require from the players is respect and trust in the coaches and themselves. These will be the vitamin for success.”
Misbun is known for his magic touch with players.
Top players like Lee Chong Wei, Hashim brothers Roslin and Hafiz and even his own brothers Razif-Jalani and Rashid have come through his guidance.
In 2018, when he took charge of Lee Zii Jia and Leong Jun Hao as the national men’s singles coach, there were immediate results at the international scene.
Misbun’s next target is to produce winners at next year’s World Junior Championships in New Zealand. Last year, Malaysia achieved their worst ever results when none of their players won a medal from both the World Junior Championships in Kazan, Russia, and the Asian Junior Championships in Suzhou, China.
“We’ll prepare the current team to win medals again at the next world junior meet. We want to add quality in our junior squad. If all goes well, our first batch of juniors will resume training on July 26,” he said.
With Misbun’s determination, leadership and three decades of invaluable coaching experiences, Malaysia can expect a change of fortune in their junior ranks and it’s indeed exciting time ahead.
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