Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Contributing To A Child's Success In Their Chosen Sports (Part 1/3)

Parents - The Significant Others Helping Kids To Succeed

Note: This blog post will be edited every 30min.: By Jasmine

By Rameshon

It is a fact from my research, done for the partial requirement for my Masters In Education (University of Western Australia, 2005-2008), that outside school agents, for instance, like Clubs etc., can enable the child to achieve excellence in their chosen sports.

I feel that this is true, as I could share my past, as a St. Joseph Institution athlete, in year 1978 to 1981. We were given once a week training when we were training between year 1978 and 1979. My friends and I improved a little but we did not progress much. At first, my time for 4.8km was around 25min plus, when I joined cross -country as a CCA. In year 1979, the fastest time I did for 4.8km MacRitchie Reservoir Cross - Country route was 18min 52sec, February. I was stuck with this time for the whole year round and I did not know what to do with the situation. I was very frustrated with the stagnation. I decided to read books on running.  My teacher/coach Mr Joseph Varghese, at that time, just gave us once a week training. Mr Varghese, was fine with us training with Clubs, and I am still grateful for that action even until now. In fact, he encouraged my friends and I to join Clubs, outside of school, so that we can excel. Mr Varghese was selfless in his action.

In year 1980, I joined SWIFT Club for training. I did not join everyone in the Club but with some of the runners. We did four days training by ourselves and one with SWIFT Club. By 1991, my time was 15m 55sec. I came in 6th in National Schools' Cross-Country race's finals. I was actually very happy with the results. 

I did not win any form of National Track and Field Championship' s track event, at that time. I kept training hard consistently and at about 17 years of age, I did 16m 36sec in 5000m track race. I believe that by joining my Club, Swift, I was able to improve a lot.

Later, I was in the army, with another two more months to go to leave National Service (Army), I was surprised that I got selected for the 10km Lumut, Perak, South East Asian Inter- Army race. I did 36m 31sec.

After leaving the army, I got into the then College of Physical Education and ran everyday, without fail, after two weeks of being a trainee teacher at the institution. However, the joining of the Club significantly helped me to do well over a period of time.

It was here that I got first in men's open 10km races and I was getting first for the three years in a row. In year 1987, I got the 2hr 40min time and I was first local in Singapore Mobil Marathon. I got selected to represent Singapore in Japan to run in Asian Marathon Championships at Biwako Marathon. The weather was extremely cold that out of 10 runners selected, I was 7th, with a time of 2hr 46min. I nearly stopped in that race. 

Then, in 1990, when I was a Physical Education teacher in Clementi Town Secondary School, I ran and did 2hr 30min in California Marathon.  Subsequently, in year 1991, I did 2hr 31min in Hong Kong Marathon, I came in 5th with a cash reward of $3000, at that time.

Mr John Sproule, my Physiology lecturer, at that time, and sometimes a training partner to me, at the then College of Physical Education suggested me to go to Loughborough University to train under world reputed Coach George Gandy. George Gandy was in fact, the Head Coach of Middle and Long Distance in Great Britain, at that time. In year 1993, March, under the mentorship of George Gandy and training partner Alan Guilder, I clocked  in 2hr 29min for the Flora London Marathon held on the month of March. Eight weeks before that, Gandy gave me some workouts which made to do a time of 31min 46sec for 10km. Unfortunately, I had to scaled down my training and had to study for my 1st Year Exam. The 1993 SEA Games was held around that period and it was held in Singapore. Hence, I did not come and run in that race, although I was selected for the race.

Finishing my Year One Final Exams, I decided to do the Berlin International Marathon 1993. which was held in September. I did 2hr 28min there. Alan Guilder, my training partner became my coach. Alan has a personal best of 13m 32sec for 5km. 

In 1995, I went down to Chiengmai to run the SEA Games route and did 2hr 29min and ended the first qualifier for the South East Games, for running within the bronze medal time of previous South East Games marathon, in 1991. After 9 months of the run, I was again there for the 1995 SEA Games and I did 2hr 24min 22sec for the marathon. After some minutes, Yvonne Danson, Singapore's woman athlete, at that time, ran and did 2hr 34min. 

The summary of events above, I believe could shed some light on I transformed from an athlete to a coach. In the above passage, I am sharing my experience on why my interest did not die down, until I reached the age of 29. It is with the intention of parents to social facilitate kids to enable a child to succeed in the end that I am writing this. As a coach now, I could see that parents, in the process of bringing excellence in a child's chosen sports, earlier in a kid's maturation period, may unknowingly contribute to the demise of the child's interest in a sport. I have already met a number of disappointed parents who have put in a lot of effort in the earlier part of the kid's life.

I shall discuss my experience as a runner in this part, before I write the experience as a coach. Finally, I will write some sharing from fellow coaches on how parents can enable a kid to succeed in the long run.