Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The diving saga - still unsatisfactorily explained

Sin Chew Daily

The non-renewal of the contract of national diving coach Yang Zhuliang, according to the National Sports Institute (ISN) and the swimming union, was because of his "unscientific way of coaching".

These two organizations need to provide better excuses or they will continue to be seen as a laughing stock that could last until Tokyo 2020 or beyond.

Perhaps this was the sole reason for his dismissal. Or could there be any other factor beyond the knowledge of outsiders?

Anyway, from what we know so far, without the slightest doubt the ISN and swimming union's excuses have been highly unsubstantiated.

What did they mean by being unscientific? Or should I ask what sports science actually is?

People might have the wrong impression that it means the use of drugs, computer technology or state-of-the-art equipment to re-engineer athletes into some sort of robotic beings.

Most definitely not. Sports science is about integrating a variety of sciences and experiences such as psychology, nutrition science, etc. to energize an athlete in a bid to significantly lift his or her performance.

But, this should only serve as an auxiliary regimen for athletes. The core value of sports science lies with the employment of a set of tested training methods to strengthen the foundation of the athletes before instituting intensive training to enhance their techniques, stamina and strength.

To be fair to Yang, he must have his own way of coaching which is very likely derived from China's training of divers modified locally for our diving squad.

Such a set of systematic training and coaching has on several occasions won us medals and accolades, thus having its effectiveness and reliability accredited and is thus fit for repetitive adoption.

What is this if it is not science?

Science, in its essence, is about a set of tested methods that operates in a controlled environment to produce the specific outcome and can be employed repetitively.

This very same process has seen the evolution of sciences in the likes of physics, chemistry, medicine, economics, sports science and many others.

I don't have to repeat here the remarkable contributions Yang has made to the sport. The fact that we started with nothing but have now emerged a reckoned force in the diving sport proves at least one thing, that Yang's methodology has worked, and is effective, tested and viable.

Dismissing Yang as "unscientific" itself is a deviation from the principle of science. We can therefore understand why he has become so frustrated with the lame excuses provided.

I need to reiterate that unless ISN and the swimming union could come up with more acceptable reasons for not renewing Yang's contract, people will continue to sympathize with the coach for the undeserved treatment he has been accorded despite his marvelous contributions towards the diving sport of this country.

This has reminded me of the universal phenomenon whereby local sports authorities have constantly treated foreign or even local coaches as disposable utensils that need to be discarded soon after use, including the frustrated badminton technical director Morten Frost originally hired by BAM on a five-year contract, and Portuguese Nelo Vingada, the national football team head coach who only managed to hold on to his job for five months!

Are there really problems with these foreign coaches? Or are our sports authorities being overly bureaucratic and unprofessional such that coaches have to fall prey to their perpetual infighting?


  1. Bringing outsiders , even foreigners into an organisation to turn its performance around can be a very effective measure. Talent and capability unavailable within , a fresh pair of eyes, someone without the baggage or constraints of insiders.
    But the management must make clear what the boundaries are, what are the Sacred Cows, where are the No-Go on arrears.
    MAS , in Deep Shit, brought in two Top Drawer foreign aviation executives to help turn it around.
    They started to show some results, but both are Gone, long before their originally expected tenure.

    The disputes and arguments never got public, but probably something similar at work here.....their methods "don't fit local culture", some locals complain directly to political masters, etc. Etc.

    1. China's Geely made the right move in the latest turnaround attempt with Proton.
      Take up majority ownership, appoint their own CEO, bring in their own key suppliers.
      Ironically, the latest Geely-driven turnaround for Proton may actually succeed, where all previous attempts have failed.

      Given China government's direct interest in Geely, even Najib will not dare to tell Geely to "Get Lost" like so many other foreigners brought in to turn around Malaysian organisations.

  2. i still dun understand y we hire a communist for the job.

  3. When we have people in charge of sports that they either have no experience or knowledge in,then these fools are appointed because of their political connections.So when the country put fools in charge of administration in sports,these fools are most likely to fucked up.

    When these fools fucked up,they have no balls to admit their mistakes,so they blamed others for their own failures.Let the divers finished at the bottom and see whom they put the blame next on.Their wives or mistresses?

  4. Sports, being a physical activity, is impossible to achieve peak performance without a tremendous focus on physical and mental fitness.
    "Sports medicine" does not take away that need.
    However , it IS true that the Hard Knocks method is Old School and more subtle methods can actually achieve equivalent or even superior results.

    Similarly in the field of education.