Getting the most out of coaches

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's top coaches will now have to do more than just go through the paces with their charges and go home. 

Australian Damien Kelly, who has been appointed as the head of the 18-sport special project unit, met the coaches of all the sports yesterday – and mapped out what he expected of them. 

He wants the coaches to make use of new offices allotted to them at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. He wants them to do research on their sport and progress made in coaching elsewhere. And he wants a brainstorming session each week and a report on the progress of the athletes each month. 

The sports have each been given a cubicle with three computers and Information Technology (IT) support for their research. 

The 18 sports are being geared for success at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in Doha in what is now called ASIACOMM 2006. 

Kelly, who has been heading the project for the last seven weeks, said it was his job to create the best possible environment for the athletes and part of it was to demand high professional behaviour from the top coaches. 

“I have met the chief coaches before. But this is the first time I am addressing all of them at the same time. We have a total of 37 coaches under this project.  

“Some 25 are based here while others are based overseas,” said Kelly, who was the Western Australia Institute of Sports (WAIS) programme manager prior to taking up his new post on June 30. 

“I am not focused on winning medals. My job is to create the best possible environment for the athletes and this eventually will lead to them winning medals.”  

Kelly said they would demand more from coaches. 

“The meeting today is to introduce to this coaches their office base. We are providing them a network. They can do their research; they can access people from sports science (at National Sports Institute) and the project managers and even talk about their athletes over a cup of coffee. They can also exchange ideas with the other coaches, who will be based here too,” he said. 

“We do not want coaches to work in isolation. Usually, after training, the coach goes back home. Now, we want them to come here and spend about three hours doing research - reading up on sports science and exchanges ideas. 

“We encourage them to be here all five days but we have made it compulsory for them to meet here at least once a week.” 

“We also expect a monthly report from the coaches. We want them to show their training programme. At the end of the Doha Games, the coaches cannot complain about a weak support system.” 

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