31 Jan Spying in Sports
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Written By Rameshon
Bsc (Hons) Degree in Physical Education, Loughborough University (1992-1994)
Masters in Education (University of Western Australia, 2005-2008)
Hopefully, spying does not resort to break-in into one’s privacy
I was invited to give a talk, in the year 2009, at Republic Polytechnic on Periodisation in running. The Poly organisers actually invited two speakers. One of them was to give a talk on Sailing and he was a coach as well. I can’t remember the name of the sailing coach, as it was nearly a decade ago.
Earlier on, my own feeling, about spying, was on the coach having no confidence in coaching. That was what I thought. Also, when one is not successful, one will start to spy. One of my former runners, Kok Kong told me that a coach has been spying on me all the time, in the past. I did not believe this. Recently, I did see this person, this time 3 metres away from me, and even my students saw it.
From what I know, in my life, if one is focused on current and past research, one will have the greatest advantage in sports. In my life, I don’t mind spying but I still find that I do not have the time to do it, as when you do the practices in running, you really do not have the time to spy.
In the Poly talk, I realised that spying was legal. The sailing coach spoke at length on spying, so that one had an edge over the other. The thing that struck me the most was that a coach has to do it, and making use of students was to be the least. I have made it a point not to use a student for any spying activity as it is really time-consuming and it is important to think about the child, not solely on spying. If one has to spy, it is the coach who should do it.
It is interesting as I have seen students, at present, spying for coaches, instead. Sometimes, I have seen them spying at length and I feel sad for the students, as they may not have time to study, and it is not good for their career. It is actually an abuse of power by the coach.
Why do I say this? In stadiums, I have seen coaches doing their routine with the athletes. I have seen athletes, once in a while, just sitting for hours simply watching and doing nothing. It is not fair for parents as they don’t know that time-wasting is going on. Sometimes, I do feel pity for the students and the parents, as the coach is doing this for themselves and it is for his or her selfish reason. If it had to be the student, he or she should limit this for a very short period, not too long. I am fully aware that poor parents are not aware of this going on recently. Few coaches have complained to me that abuse is going on. I hope that the coach is more responsive and do his or her part by solely taking full responsibility for spying, or at least inform the parents of what task they are giving for the child.
If the coaches undertake spying, they may know not to go too close to the coaching field of the opponent side. When a student undertakes, it could end up in confrontation etc as he or she might go too near the opponent side, and get scolding, instead. A fight might ensue and this should be avoided, as it can happen student to student. My friends who are coaches have shared this.
Actually, spying is allowed if one is a distance away. Frankly speaking, I feel that if one has the knowledge, one does not have to spy. If one uses reflection using running diary and races, and be mindful on oneself, one will win. One should look for one’s weakness and keep correcting it. At the same time, when one is tuned to the current research, and provided practise it, one will be able to show a success. If the coach does not use research, he or she will rely more on spying on very successful coaches, and this does not show the passion of the coach.
I also feel that if the coach has to spy, one has to have good values to follow. They should say that they learnt from this from Mr/Mrs/Ms so and so how to run faster and there is nothing wrong in this.
Next Issue – Values in Sports is more important than coaching and winning.
Rameshon has taught in Hwa Chong Institution, plus several schools, and Republic Polytechnic as well. He has won many accolades and he was awarded Merit Award for 1991 marathon performance in breaking the national record of Singapore, at that time. He has made 22 male athletes do the marathon in sub-3hrs. He has made 7 female runners do sub-4 hours for the marathon, as well. He was inducted to the ‘Roll of Honour’ by the then College of Physical Education, organised by Singapore Olympic Academy, in 1998, for breaking the National record repeatedly 4 times, till he did 2hr 24min 22sec).
He also has a Coaching group and he trains them on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7pm at Botanic Gardens. Those interested can call him at 91004369 for coaching assistance, to improve performance. There is also personal training that he does for many in a week. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.