Five-year plan for S’wak to reach top 3 in hockey

A participant goes through the dribble drill in one of the hockey clinics.

A group of happy primary school girls during a hockey clinic.

KUCHING: Sarawak head coach Sivasubramaniam Cellapah is aiming to make Sarawak the top three hockey teams in the country with the implementation of a five-year development programme.

He will be focusing on planning a solid development training programme and overseeing the running of the Sarawak hockey team.

“I had considered quitting last year and the Sarawak State Sports Council (MSNS) had given me a good offer last September with the terms that I am comfortable with,” he told The Borneo Post.

He had in fact received very lucrative offers from other states but chose to stay as he loved Sarawak and liked the attitude of the players in training here.

“They are so disciplined, committed and ever willing to learn,” he noted.

“I must thank Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC) chief executive officer Dr Ong Kong Swee, SSC administrative officer Daud Aba and Hockey Association of Sarawak president Datin Mary Sadiah for putting their trust and full support in me.”

According to the 66-year coach who has been with Sarawak for the past 12 years, Sarawak are now ranked among the top six teams in Malaysia.

To kick-start the development programme, Siva and his team of coaches including Sri Sakrunathan, Sunil Roy Chakravathy, Beatrice Sawin, Pamela Tia, Netty Elvis, Vernity Ricky, Nelyana Aling and Janet Kadir, are conducting hockey clinics in major towns and cities of Sarawak, with SSC going all out on the programme.

The clinics commenced in Serian where 230 children and 15 teachers participated and they have been conducted also in Betong, Bintulu, Miri and recently in Mukah with 255 children and 15 teachers.

Sivasubramaniam said the next stops will be Belaga and Sarikei later this year or early next year

He also stressed the importance of continuity and whatever his team have done, the teachers and students must put to practice or else it would come to naught.

“The teachers coaches must make training sessions a challenge. When there’s challenge, the kids will love doing it,” said the head coach who added that the schools involved in the development programme must focus more on the basic skills first instead of system of play.

According to him, beginners should spend at least one hour for the basic skills training and attend training at least five days a week with two to three hours of training.

“Trainees need to master the six skills — hits, push, receiving, Indian dribble, close dribble and slapshot –then only they can play any system be it 3-3-1, 4-4-2, 5-3-2 or 4-3-4,” added Sivasubramaniam.

Apart from developing the players at grass roots level, Sivasubramaniam is also training many hockey coaches who are mainly the teachers and former national or state players.

He wants to see every division working very hard to produce talented players for the state’s age group teams such as U12, U14, U16, Schools U17, Razak Cup and Sukma.

“There is also a need to organise more tournaments at divisional and state level, at least two inter-divisional meets a year,” he said, noting that there were more tournaments now when compared to previous years.

Coming up is the inter-development centre competition next month in Kuching.

To make the development programme successful, Siva Sivasubramaniam said the schools and Ministry of Education have important roles to play.

“We have requested for the Ministry of Education to release Catherine Lambor, who is currently teaching at SMK Paku in Bau, to take over as the women’s chief coach,” he added.

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