Some thoughts on the National Football Development Plan

    The New Straits Times recently interviewed Khairy Jamaluddin, Malaysia's sports minister, regarding progress of the National Football Development Program (NFDP). The mechanics of sport development is the focus of many of the articles I write for this site so I'm happy to report that the NDFP is hitting all the right notes. You can read the full article here.

    The exciting thing about the NDFP is that it is addressing the main sport development issue in Malaysia which is getting as many youngsters involved in sports training as possible. Over 23,000 young players are involved in the football program at 123 centers. Over 1000 coaches support training several times per week.

    All of this sounds good and I hope that the Ministry is able to sustain this effort. It will only pay off if it is maintained long-term. The only concern might be that the program is being organized and run by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Where is the FAM? Why isn't such a massive grassroots development effort organized by the sport association tasked with administering and developing football within the country?

    One could argue that the FAM has other issues to deal with if recent press reports are correct. But the fact is that football development should be done by the football association. Why? Because the model offered by the Ministry can't be applied across the board to other sports. It's too much time, too much manpower, and too much money for the Ministry alone to administer. It's a great idea as a pilot project to show associations how it needs to be done but the model will only be successful if sport associations take it upon themselves to implement it in their own way for their own sports.

    And let's not forget the money. According to Minister Jamaluddin about 10 million ringgit is spent on the program each year, sometimes more, sometimes less. This is a lot of money that, again, makes it unlikely that the Ministry would be able to create a program like the NFDP for other sports.

    NFDP is a shining example of what could be a model for all sport associations

    The best thing about the NFDP is that it is able to showcase the way sport development should be done. Project director Lim Teong Kim knows how athletes are created. If each sport could find a person or group of people like Lim and give them the resources they need then development of many sports in Malaysia would ignite.

    Sport development is not flashy or sexy. It takes time for any development plans to hatch truly talented performers. When high performance athletes emerge from development programs it briefly shines the spotlight on the development program itself but mostly sport development is something that churns along behind the scenes. Most of the time people take little notice of it. Those not involved in the sport probably don't even know it exists.

    The NFDP would be under the radar for most people were it not for the recent article in the New Straits Times. But this is normal; sport development doesn't make headlines. But the programs have to exist if better high performance athletes are the goal.

    Can sport associations set up programs similar to the NFDP for their sport? This is the key question that the NFDP raises. Scope and funding may be issues but the overall idea remains the same: get as many youngsters involved in your sport, train them, help them compete, and, most of all, do it over the long-term. It's not a 6-week program and it has to be sustainable.

    In the United States the club system takes on the developmental role. Malaysia may need a different model but no matter how it eventually ends up getting done it has to be done if Malaysia is interested in lifting its level of sport performance.

    --------
    Bill Price is the Chief Information Officer at USSA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur.

    All articles

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    Visualization and imagery in sports - 05 June 2017


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    Peak height velocity and aerobic development: Using simple measurement data to inform training decisions - 26 September 2016


    Early sport specialization is still not a good idea - 19 September 2016


    What kind of data do we need to develop sports? - 12 September 2016


    The attrition and transformation models of sport development - 05 September 2016


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    Parental support is vital to sport success - 22 August 2016


    Artificial elimination of athletes from training and competition hinders sport development in Malaysia - 15 August 2016


    A sport development system vs. just being lucky - 08 August 2016


    Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016


    The IOC is wrong: Russia should have been banned from Rio - 28 July 2016


    Building pyramids: A lesson in goal setting - 20 June 2016


    What if opportunity never knocks? - 13 June 2016


    The long-term athlete development framework offers youngsters a chance at sport success and an active and healthy life - 06 June 2016


    Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016


    It's time to stop talking about BMI - 24 May 2016


    Happy Teachers' Day! - 16 May 2016


    USSA Malaysia at official Khidmat Negara 2.0 launch - 27 April 2016


    Changing the SEA Games event list ignores key sport development principles - 16 April 2016


    Welcome PLKN trainers! - 25 March 2016


    Malaysian youth are not overweight, but they're not active either - 15 February 2016


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    IDPESC convocation set for Thursday, 3 December - 29 September 2015


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    USSA-MY gets new look - 11 May 2015


    1. What does a declining population mean for sport? - 2 February 2016
    2. What is the anaerobic threshold? - 06 February 2017
    3. USSA Malaysia at official Khidmat Negara 2.0 launch - 27 April 2016
    4. How we calculate age can have benefits, and consequences, in youth sports - 11 December 2017
    5. Peak height velocity and aerobic development: Using simple measurement data to inform training decisions - 26 September 2016
    6. Malaysian schoolchildren study illustrates relative age effect - 13 February 2017
    7. Three problems facing Malaysian sport - 27 November 2017
    8. Creating a true sport development system in Malaysia - 11 September 2017
    9. Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016
    10. Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016
    11. How to do the measurements for determining peak height velocity (PHV) - 24 October 2016
    12. USSA Malaysia teaching Fit4Life module in Khidmat Negara pilot - 26 October 2015
    13. The long-term athlete development framework offers youngsters a chance at sport success and an active and healthy life - 06 June 2016
    14. LTAD: The Train to Train stage - 10 July 2017
    15. Happy Teachers' Day! - 16 May 2016
    16. Tips on creating an effective coaching environment - 10 October 2016
    17. Young, single-sport athletes suffer more injuries and do not reach their full potential - 29 May 2017
    18. Is the SEA Games event program too big? - 21 August 2017
    19. Who won the SEA Games? - 04 September 2017
    20. Malaysia's sibutramine incident offers a glimpse into the complexity of the drugs in sport issue - 06 November 2017