"Perfect" without practice

By Ghaz Ramli

Don't dream of winning, TRAIN for it - Mo Farah

Train? What's that?

Yes the 12 teams in the Malaysian Super League will be able to start their training along with the 12 in the Premier League.

That’s about it for the number of teams preparing to train. About the 20 plus teams, including serious amateur teams in the whole of Malaysia that will be training again in my opinion. 
For most of the amateurs and social leagues in Malaysia in it safe to say (without any expensive AC Neilsen type survey) that training is not in the Malaysian football DNA.

In fact, ask yourself, you, the football or futsal players, when was the last time you went for an actually training session. One without any from of a game in it. One purely for fitness, strategy or tactical implementation?

Monday’s announcement by Malaysia’s Sport Minister mention that football, being a contact sport, the game will not be allowed to be played but training with proper distancing will be. He went on also saying all competition and competition forms will be cancelled.

On a side note: This allowance of training, applies for the Harimau Malaya and Harimau Muda and of course professional clubs around the nation. Firstly, would all players, coaches and officials actually adhere to this ? Over here in Perth, my amateur club was allowed to return to training 3 weeks ago but with a cap of 20 people. No heading, no game simulation and of course no touching was allowed. However, training on a cold, rainy winter’s night in the middle of the park with no one in-sight, we could have easily played a 10 v 10. But as a club, if the council were to catch us doing so, the team, which is a registered club, could be fined up to AUD20,000. Which was of course not worth it. Now, I’m not implying that our M-League clubs will not follow the rules but it (strictly no game) has to be something not needed to be explained at every training session until more restrictions are eased. Players can get frustrated when the adrenaline kicks-in and may not think rationally at the time, which may not be intentionally as the game is their passion. Trust me, even as a social player, it was very frustrating. 

On another side note: As for the national sides, I think allowing the players to be with their clubs for as long as they can before grouping them for camps should be the decision. No point bringing the best together to train long balls when that’s what we want to curb. More importantly, allow them to be part of the club in hope of motivating their teammates to get back into the teams’ tempo and groove of things. For those without a team, who played abroad, then maybe Kelana Jaya can decide a programme for them.

But that’s that. This article is about football training in a holistic view. Besides the pros, the bulk of players in Malaysia are made of social and amateurs. It is safe to say, the mushroom of junior soccer schools and academies are likely the only group of players in the eco-system of the game who actually conduct proper training sessions. But I believe there a more players out there who don’t go for these schools or simply cannot afford it.

The adults, in any age range only turn up for games. Teams can be made of just finding 11 on the day which are willing to pay a little for the referee or rent of the field or if really good, will play for a little payment. Their seniority can be the only reason they are in the starting XI. A lot would hate to practice and develop a bond within themselves especially if they feel that they are better than the others and considers themselves a star player of the team. 

Training can be considered a complete waste of time which can be used to just play. Excuses from the 'stars' will be given to miss training but they will be available somehow for the match. In fact, I know professional clubs in Malaysia impose fines up to RM500 if you are late or miss training in which some 'superstars' can pay up to RM3000 per month on average so they can have a sleep in but still get the starting position on the weekend.

This culture has killed many aspiring footballers to quit the game because the politics is harder work than the actual game.

I myself played indoor and outdoor futsal for years in Malaysia and never once attended a training session. I would be lying if I'd said I didn't make an excuse if there was one but it was never something that was as important as the match itself for me to even consider taking it seriously. The biggest event would be a 1-day tournament where teams can be made overnight and will be sporting amazing looking jerseys although none of the players would have played or train together before or will ever play again in the same team.

Kerteh FC, 2019 Terengganu Amateur League champions in one of their training sessions. General consensus suggest not many teams will be jumping back to train immediately as much to be considered especially time and cost because allocation for sports in a week is mainly prioritise for match time and not training sessions. Picture: Kerteh FC Facebook

My argument here, is that training, the very basic of the game is almost non-existent in the Malaysian football culture. When the restrictions eases, the social players, the fans, the people within the industry are not going to spring out and jump back into the field without sneakily trying to play a 5v5 or 7v7 or even a 10v10. Drills, circuits especially without the ball is as boring as boring can be but crucial to the development of a player and the team. If you never did it (train) when things were normal? What makes you think you going to do it now?

They say practice makes perfect but how are we going to be perfect when we don’t (like to) practice.

Note: This article is not intended to mock or demotivate the Malaysian football culture and those within it's eco-system. It is merely to point out how important every aspect of the game is. As we rebuild the game, lets get the fundamentals right this time. Time to take out the poles, cones, bibs and improve our version of the game.

"Perfect" without practice "Perfect" without practice Reviewed by Ghaz Ramli on June 10, 2020 Rating: 5
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