Arul's experience

I received an email from former international Arul Anthoni Selvaraj some time back with regards to his coaching experience abroad.

Arul has been playing assistant coach to several teams including the national squad, the South African team and currently serving Ireland.

Judging from the tone of the email, I presume Arul is interested in returning to Malaysia and helping out the national team. I could be wrong though.

Below is the email:

My experience abroad

Here i would like to share my coaching experience and ideas.

1. Players managements

My personal phlosophy is that coaching is NOT just being present on the field during matches or training sessions, but more of an individual who is able to adapt as a friend, teacher, manager, physologist and etc.

The manner in which I approch this viewpoint is by making efford to get to know my player well;

· what they like

· their background

· their emotional level

Hence equipped with this additional info, I am able to manage them better individually.

Create a BOND between the coach and the players.

This creates TRUST...

I also make an efffort to get to know their families and loved ones.

I believe that if i know my players better, i will be able to get the most out of them.

Players should be comfortable to talk to coaches. Players should feel free to talk to coaches. They shouldn’t fear talking to coaches.

In our Asian culture/ background we have always portrayed the coaches as the 'Boss' and true to their tag the coaches have always played along to that part as well. We have always encountered scenarios in which coaches distance themselves from players. They don’t spend enough time outside coaching hours with players. They don’t mix around with players to understand the players.

The key is that, the team know who is the BOSS...who makes the team FINAL DECISIONS...

2. Living by example

I do believe that as a coach i will need to set examples. I’m first on training and last to leave.

I give my very best by preparing the session, giving technical information, preparing a quality video presentation.

By doing all this ONLY then i can expect the very best from my players.

All the best coaches in the world, spend hours and hours watching video, coming out with new technical skills, new playing concepts, new ideas. And to be fair one would suggest that this are all the basic requirements to undertake the 'Boss' role or do we consider this as surplus to the existing technical tools we posses?

3. Respect

I believe that , things only get done when u have the respect. Respect is earned.

I treat my players with respect, i treat them like men. I believe men carrying responsibilities.

So, in order for them to make decisions on the field , i need to treat them like men to make decisions.

Boys dont make decisions, boys dont take responsibilities.

Sadly ,I have witnessed scenarios Malaysian team players being treated like boys.In the many years I have worked under high profile coaches and also within my own coaching years I have never been advised ,that mocking out to the players brings out the best in them! Unless this is a new methodolgy conjured by the 'bosses'. Damn, have I missed the trick here then?

Maybe I should start screaming ‘’BODOH’’ or ‘’MAIN MACAM BUDAK SEKOLAH’’ my players . (Note to self: I will translate the meaning to them!)

Or I'm I being naive to think that certain players in the team need to be treated in that manner to bring out the best in them?

Or alternatively the question is 'Is this the right coaching approach'?

My personal approach will be to put your players down in close sessions, but you always protect your players in public. End of the day you will have 16 ego driven men in your team and none whom would endure losing their faces in public.

I Played and watch how Terry Walsh treated his players, how the public had so much of respect for him, and most importantly how the players looked up and respected him!

Do MHF, the players and the public have the same respect for our coaches now ?

It works both ways, either MHF don’t respect the coaches or the coaches themselves have not earned the respect.


Do our coaches have enough knowledge ?

Are they exposed ?

You never STOP learning, everyday in our life we learn something new.

When our coaches travel abroad, they shouldn’t keep to themselves. Not wanting to talk to other foreign coaches means

· Inferioty complex



Or maybe it is our conservative culture that holds us back! In saying that in my personal experience and journey, sacrifice and perseverance does have its rewards!

4. System of play

I was able to watch the Malaysian players recently, i Think the Malaysian players has the following:

· Very good physical endurance

· Very fast players

· Technically good

At present I have devised a system that suits my player according to their capabilities and strength.

I do not believe in a system, it all depends on what kind of players I have in the team.(individually and team strength)

I can then manipulate A STYLE to play against opponents.

I believe in getting my team organized before even thinking of opponents. My principle is ‘’whats the point of looking at opponents, when I have not even got my team sorted’’

In the previous team I coached, I was blessed with the following;

* Very fast and skillful forwards
* A good Sweeper whom could play a 70m slap pass
* A Centre Midfield who is very strong on the ball with 60m overheads

And my current team doesn’t have ability mentioned above.

So, can I play the same system?

5. Scientific approach

‘‘Training hard doesn’t mean you are getting better, it’s all about the quality’’

The top teams in the world hockey are training based on scientific findings. The following are example for different approaches undertaken by teams using scientific methodology.

* Like team ‘A’
o They have a system to know how long a player can perform at high tempo and how long he takes to recover
o They then have a computer system to show if the players time is up for substitution

* Team ‘B’
o A video system that sends live matches into the bench for the coach to view before he could send some information to the team

* Team ‘C’
o Uses a system to monitor the players physical level if he is able to play a match

* Team ‘D’
o Video streaming for players to analyze themselves anywhere (provided they have internet connection )

* Team ‘D’
o Testing the urinal samples in the morning to monitor their hydration level

Presence of High Performance Director or Technical Director

This position is the key in creating a standard playing style or system.

It has to be developed from grass root.

You will find top hockey nations like Australia and Germany have continues flow of players with similar playing style, due to the involvement of the High Performance Director or Technical Director.

Job function :

* To identify key technical skill to train nation wide
* Advising on appointment of coaches
* To conduct courses nation wide (SUKMA coaches)
* To train the 1 MAS coaches
* To train Sports School coaches

I left Malaysia in 2005, in order to gain exposure, to comeback to Malaysia someday to coach. I’ve never forgotten where i come from.

I did it for myself...

MHF, NSC, ISN and my friends have been very supportive. I left Malaysia with all the blessings from MHF(Tan Sri Anwar) and NSC(Dato Zol) AND ISN(Dato Dr Ramlan).

I will offer my service to help Malaysia to achieve their targets. Being a Malaysian, I would like to see the Malaysian flag flying high in the World Cups and Olympics.

Arul Anthoni

81 international caps for Malaysia (retired after the 1998 world cup age 24)
Asst coach to Malaysia, S.Africa, and currently with Irish Men’s team
Winning the Euro Nations Trophy with the Irish Team in Wales 2009
Winning the Irish Senior Cup 2010 with my club team

HD says: Sincere apologies Arul as this has been long overdue.


  1. nice..agreed...i dunno when this training method/ideas/scientific methodology can be apply in Malaysia? or has it been started nway..any idea bro?

  2. Bro,

    It is shocking that a man who says that he’s yet to forget his roots is condemning the Malaysian team.

    There is always two side of a story, Haresh, Why not you do a follow-up on this Malaysian hockey problem? Afterall you were assigned to cover hockey during your apprenticeship. I am sure you have the skills to get to the bottom of it, just like when you diligently run around the KLHA stadium trying to gather “facts”. If not maybe SS Dhaliwal can assist you also.

    I am guessing that AA feels that he has learned enough to change Malaysian hockey fortunes and he feels that the HPD is suitable for him. Maybe some will be impressed with his writing skills but…err easier to explain.. A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots.

    Why not the National Hockey Coach instead after the AG because of the timing of this article?

    Anyway I sincerely hope he has learn enough to work as a team rather than regularly orchestrated the removal of coaches i.e removal of Yahya Atan from the senior team after SA Champion Challenge.(if you ask SS what he was doing in Yahya's room in SA than you will know why Yahya got the boot). Thereafter the sacking Paul Lissek from the National Hockey Team after Madrid Qualifier, imputing wrong facts in his character assassination projects.

    Maybe one or two “mat salleh” would probably have died along the way from South Africa to Ireland when they were a threat or in his path!

    The morale of the story … “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out”. So Paul and Yahya are back together, collaborating in development work.

    Good luck to you, AA and hope my taxes will be well spent by the authorities.

  3. It is a pity but no surprise that AAS had to resort to self promoting and condemning the Malaysian system and other coaches in order to impress.

    Is it is even sadder that whatever is written is taken as correct without any verification because a lot that is written is not entirely true- these are not new ideas ,it is just rehash and put across differently.

    When posted verbatim then the public gets a wrong perception and jumps to wrong conclusion just because someone deliberately wants this false impression to go public.

    Well if AAS wants to contribute to Malaysian Hockey - great everyone should be given a chance to contribute and do their part but dont do it by putting down others. Do it riding on your own ability not by words only.

    What AAS has stated is not 100 % true with a lot of deliberate assumptions and omissions.

    Some of our up and coming age group coaches and sports school coaches and even upcoming state coaches are already well ahead in this area of using video and technical aids as well as upgrading their knowledge in the sports sciences.

    Dont think that Malaysians are so backwards - AAS will be surprised to know that what he has suggested has already been in place long ago

    Maybe Haresh is impressed or the public who is not in the know thinks WOW this is so advanced.

    AAS is trying to portray that he has all the qualities of a good coach - Good for him but what is most important is does he have the quality and character of a good and honest person with the right intentions.

    His email is coming across as a coach who wants to parachute himself back into Malaysian Hockey and telling everyone that all the local coaches are incompetent and they are all lacking his abilities and knowledge, self confidence, etc.

    The 1Mas project have a good technical person in Lim who is way ahead of AAS in terms of technical, tactical, communication skills, hockey intelligence and organisational ability plus all that he has listed in his email for HPD.

    Besides Lim there are other local coaches who have been upgrading and improving their coaching skills ,knowledge and experience.

    AAS seems to thinks that by putting down the MHF structure and coaches of his country of birth he can fit in,impress and stay relevant with the Mat Sallehs he has worked with.

    CODE of ETHICS of Coaches have you ever heard of this - obviously not.

    AAS if you want to contribute and help Malaysia Hockey offer your services but dont do it at the expense of undermining others because remember What goes around comes around.

    Good Luck

  4. AAS, let others talk good about you, and please do not talk about yourself. You are supposed to earn so well, now it seems that you are selling yourself to get employment here.

    Every one have their strength and weaknesses, so do not highlight only your strength, how about your weaknesses. So, if you are good, you will be head-hunted and till then keep your self-glorifying to yourself.

    As the saying goes' Actions speak louder then words.'

    Anyway, congratulations for your European Achievements.

  5. Feedback much appreciated - despite the unnecessary swipe by Anon 12.12am.

    Would appreciate if we could do away with the Anons and have proper names - if not pseudonyms.


  6. I don't remenber that this panjang played under Terry Walsh!

    Guys when did he make into our team under Terry? Any idea?

    Maybe Volker Knaap and Paul.

    But guess what, why did he retire early?


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