An idiots guide to managing sports at national level

This is written to provide insights to anyone who is parachuted into positions, without having to work his or her way up from district, club, state and onwards to national and international levels in any sports.

No intention to marginalise or ridicule anyone but with an intention to provide a guideline on just how difficult the task ahead is, it’s no bed of roses and no honeymoon period.

As the saying goes, the buck stops here and the pressure begins, so much so sleepless nights is a norm, reading the news the next day ( but these days no such issues as all will only report cakap sedap instead of truths).

Firstly there is no substitute to experience working at the bottom.

These are things one does not learn in the so called “ Business Harvard School” kind of phrase

When serving a national body, there are no such thing as stars sentiments.

It is the national agenda that you have been entrusted to handle.

So talking about things like wanting to host a international tournament in your state, building a Hockey stadium, doing development at grass roots, especially primary schools is a big NO NO.

Hello, you are now a national leader, so forget the state sentiments.

You should and could have done all this when you were in your stars position, hence this fairy tale talking had long been seen as just merely barking up the wrong tree.

Then you have those who talk that being a primary school teacher is frowned upon.

This is where one needs to come to grasp with subject matter.

No one questions your passion, the questions that will be on ability, what kind of experience you will fall back upon in order to carry out your tasks.

Next we move to improving the standards of that sport.

It’s easy to just blurt out that improving standards of the sport is of utmost priority.

In order to do that a detailed study is needed as to why and what went wrong in the first place of the standards are not up to expectations.

And in admitting that the priority is to uplift the sport, is that not admission that it is now in doldrums?

Next is the technical knowledge of the sport.

For instance in one sport, Hockey, one person had in the past made a remark that beating Pakistan was “ kacang” before the 2018 World Cup.

And what transpired, we ended up as “ kacang” in the second last position,

So instead of shooting from the hip, it’s best to do some research before speaking your mind just because a journalist sticks a microphone or phone infront of you.

So technical knowledge is vital, when it comes to matters like tactics, coaching, competitions, umpiring, high performance and so forth.

Working as a team with others is like bring on a traditional boat race team.

There must by sun, hence all the oars must move in the right direction at the same time.

This is the tough part as when at national level and talking about state interest, the boat will stay stagnant, directionless,

Then we have the hanger on’s or so called experts to advise you in how to do things,

If you are moving from kindergarten to primary school, you cannot bring along the same teacher who handles you with kids gloves.

This is the real world, everyone had an agenda. You will gain many “ friend” but lose focus of what you are ought to be doing,

And in the end, you will be like every other aspiring sport official, a has been that now lies in the graves of the unnamed,

Oh yes, we do most of the times go back in time to reflect on how the sport was when we used to play it, to take the good things, hoping to employ it as one strategy to improve the sport,

But did we actually play or merely carried the equipment for others or just wanted and the sidelines hoping for a break?

So now after decades, you get the break, not through effort but sheer manipulation and feel proud of it,

And then it strikes you, it’s a dog eat dog world out there.

So welcome to the guide, or rather to borrow a phrase – an idiots guide to holding positions at national level.