Pak Ya can’t say no to changes

PETALING JAYA: After more than three decades being involved in hockey, former international Yahya Atan has seen it all.

He has played the game since the 70s and then switched to coaching in the 90s, so Yahya knows a thing or two about adaptability.

Yahya AtanYahya Atan

“I have been through many generations. Each of them is different and I have to adapt to suit today’s style of play, ” said the Olympian, who competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

“Communications wise, I had to change. During my time, we had lots of respect for the coaches. The current batch of players are more curious and always have questions.

“Things are different now from back when I was a player. Hockey now involves a lot of physical strength.

“During my time, it was all about running and no workout at the gym. We have to move along with the times.

“Apart from that, the coaches’ work are heavy these days because it involves a lot of planning.”

The former national junior coach and national women’s coach is a well respected figure in the game and continues to contribute at the age of 66.

Currently in charge of youth development in Sabah, Yahya presented his thoughts in a webinar “Good coaches change games, great coaches change lives’ organised by the National Sports Council yesterday.

Fondly known as Pak Ya in the hockey fraternity, he said he took up coaching because he wanted to share his vast experience.

“When I was playing, I’ve got to know a lot of foreign coaches. We shared ideas on development and the structure of the game. Things are done differently there. For example in Europe, the development is usually handled by clubs while in Malaysia, it is in schools.

“To be a coach, you need to be highly disciplined and your training methods must have real quality in it – only then will you will see improvements.

“But what I like most about the game is unity. During my playing days, we had various races in the squad.

“In Sabah, it is the same thing which to me is good.”

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