Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Where is everybody???

Where is everybody??? Thats the first question in everybody's(aka all the four ppl's) mind that came for training on Saturday.


Training venue was change to the usual alternative outdoor basketball court due the the unavailability of the PBSM hall. However the more surprising story of the week was that only 4 attend the training, 2 being regulars (Kuan Yang and Sanjeevan) and 2 surprise attendance. Lets us welcome back Joshua Raj after 'chipsmoring' training for over 3 months from a severe motorcycle accident and a warm welcome for Choon Yang, adding Yi Lin - Choon Yang combo to a list of 'siblings-recruit' in Frontliners club after Joshua-Aaron Raj and Pei Li-June . A record we should be proud of.

Attendance was mauled by a series of incidents amongst the players like school replacements for Raya, which docked 5 names from the list and incoming exams such as SPM, plus some special occasions such as Coach Jason being away to attend his Graduation ceremony. Congratulations to him!!

Well, training was not training. No running laps, no snakes, no drills, no game and a lot of ball picking in wet mud to do!! Everybody was on their own taking shots and passes. Even the new boy make a few impressive shoots after some basic tips for Kuan Yang. Like sister like brother. Looks like we'll have another future star to groom after all.

Training quickly ended as the hot sun was rising to full force and it was a sad day for Frontliners training having recorded the lowest attendance ever. A record that hopefully would not be broken ever!

Even though all the absentees were due to genuine reasons, it kinda of a signal to all that all those year end bad spell is coming back to haunt us, obstructing Frontliner's progress as a club and players individually. Urging all Frontliner floorball freakz!! Do not let it happened. Let us get crazy again. Lets us be like Linken who flies back and forth, Penang to Nilai weekly to play in last years Penang League and I mean weekly; Lets be like Jason who drives all the way from mainland to coach you guys and be aware that petrol and toll is not cheap; and the latest crazy floorballer, Danush(hope i spelled your name correctly) who took the bus from KL just to play 2 hours of keeper at Dalat Saturday State Practise. Salute to all these crazy floorball freakz!!

Makan Floorball, Tidur Floorball, Hidup Floorball!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Still A Long Way To Go

Consistency is the key word. Sporadic at the most, Mr. Jason this week implored that the players keep their momentum.

"As any athlete knows, momentum is the most unstoppable force in sports. The only way to stop it is if you get in your own way, start making stupid mistakes or stop believing in yourself." Not exactly what he said (we people love to glamorize things), but surely what he meant.

Though expecting little, attendance surprised everyone this week with thirteen people coming for training including Christopher and Mervin from Minden Underdawgs.

After gaining some enlightening insight from the sports leadership camp he attended last week, Mr. Jason made sure to apply what he learned in training right from warm-up.

Snakes. Passes. Shots. Only one hour for drills, as Mr. Jason promised. Match time!

...Or not. He apparently has a different understanding of a 'drill' and a 'game'. Dividing the players into groups of two, the court was divided into three, and, in their teams, the players were supposed to play a 2v2 match, the goal being a miserable cone.

"This is to develop the Brazilian style of play... samba!"

Didn't happen. Which means that this drill should become more or less a permanent fixture in training until the players are able to play pretty. Ugh.

Making it three a team, he intoduced another brainwave. Two matches were to be played on the same court, diagonally, which meant collisions. Lots of collisions. Very interesting; very messy.

Then finally, finally, for the last half-hour, came match time. For the first time since August, it was a basic 5-on-5, suddenly making the court look very small. The two teams mostly cancelled each other out, though Mervin's stunner from half-court that caught Lin Ken out (!) was absolutely magic.

Nothing really extraordinary about training this week, but then again:

"Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinary well."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Ode to Pain

Pain is when... you sprain your ankle three times in two years.
Pain is when... you get involved in a bike accident and have to go see a doctor.
Pain is when... you suddenly cramp up terribly during the most important floorball tournament of the year and have to miss the rest of it.
Pain is when... you grow old and cannot play like before.
Pain is when... not everyone remembers to congratulate you on your first goal in training.
Pain is when... no one recognizes you after you shave.
Pain is when... a ball hits you in the face and leaves an ugly cut above the eye, shattering your glasses in the process.
Pain is when... seeing your progress, you know you should've gotten your own stick a long time ago.
Pain is when... you wish you weren't the smallest person in the club.
Pain is when... you wake up late and realized you've missed yet another training.
Pain is when... you have to bring your Bio books for training to study.
Pain is when... everyone else seems better than you.
Pain is when... you don't know what to write for the weekly report.
Pain is when... training is cancelled.

See y'all next week:)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Aftermath

(sigh) ...must this happen everytime after a tournament? (Actually a few months ago, no one would've noticed, but...) Attendance dropped. Takes some getting used to, after all the positive numbers in the last few trainings. A few months ago and the club would have given anything for eleven people, but now? Everyone wants more.

So did Kuan Yang. Demanding more from each player, the difference between Mr. Jason and him could obviously be seen: him being more personal, player to player, to Mr. Jason, who coaches all together in a group.

Mr. Jason made a very special (smirks) appearance before training started, urging the players to build on their experience from the just-finished Dalat League, then left to save the world, leaving the players to start their first drill: passing.

Balls flew and suddenly became alive, leaving the players dodging for safety, before Mr. Kuan Yang intervened, wearing a cape an' all, to fly the players to safety and move on to the next drill (a little exaggeration won't harm the soul). On and on, then finally to the last drill: two-on-two's.

The fun segment in training, no goals were scored, which proved either that: the attackers are plain lousy or that the defenders are totally terrific. More of a mix, really, as it turned out to be: there were some good plays, but poor finishing took some shine off.

So then came match time, and based on what happened last week, Kuan Yang made the decision to play 4v4's. A little disjointed, for the lack of a Center or an additional player from the basic 3v3 strangled team play, giving some sharpshooters rapturous joy and others compounded frustration. Other than some good passes between Kuan Yang and Kai Yann, it was mostly individual effort that determined the winner.

So now what? The club is facing an extremely barren spell for attendance for the oncoming weeks, seeing that nearly all the players are students and that final or major exams. are just around the corner, which might last until December when training takes a break before it resumes in January.

It is up to the players themselves whether they have the desire in them to continue to excel and work on their skills. Until the next training, Frontliners, press on!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Review: Dalat-World of Floorball Challenge 2007

Back row from left: Kai Yann, Aaron Raj, Steven Tay, Jason Chan, Kuan Yang, San Jeevan and Nareen.
Front row from left: Kannan, Sharron Tan, Yi Lin, Pei Li and Mekananth.

“Dalat League happened –period.” This suggestion by Miss Lee Wai Wai when this writer was despairing over finishing this report, is interesting, but rather short, so here you go –the highlights and lowlights, not only of Frontliners Floorball Club, but of everything (perhaps a little too widespread...) that went on from Saturday to Sunday.

Pool A: Contact Y
Minden Underdawgs 1
Subang Rascals
Dalat 2
Innebandy! Co.

Pool B: Dalat 1
Minden Underdawgs 2
Contact X
Salibandy
Frontliners

The better the improvement, the heavier the weight of expectations. Frontliners were no longer the underdogs (yeah, whatever) and were expected to offer some kind of resistance, which they did, though they have yet to overcome the curse of poor starts.

Having the advantage of starting late (4 pm!), the team faced Minden Underdawgs 2 and were arguably rather lacklustre against an ultra-defensive team. Bored defenders and frustrated attackers do not make a well-balanced team, with Sharron in goal merely lounging around. The goals eventually came –a good, long-range effort by SanJeevan and a ball turned in by Jason after a scramble in the box.

The one and only two-minutes timeout for Frontliners (applause encouraged) came from an unlikely source –Ms. Koay Yi Lin. A shot by Mekananth at goal hit her straight in the chest, and in panic she snatched at the ball and afterwards ran around in circles, totally bewildered. Quite harsh, the two minutes, it at least provided some amusement for the onlooking spectators. Still even harsher was the fact that Ms. Koay was overtaken by cramps (“screaming like a pregnant woman,” said she) and could not play for the rest of the evening.

Each player knowing full and well that there was much room for improvement, they lined up against Contact X, hoping that everything would go okay...

Which did not. Right from the start, Contact, as promised, threw everything they had at Frontliners. Overwhelmed and nearly overcome, Frontliners could only watch in disbelief as the team led by Edward tore apart their defences. In total disarray, Frontliners forgot about everything they had trained for and were lucky to escape only with a 0-3 loss.

The Coach stuck with the same team for the next game against Salibandy and the team performed much better, snuffing out the threat of Deswyn and keeping the game scoreless, thus knocking Salibandy out of contention for the semis. Later on Mr. Jason confided that he wasn’t that happy because “we weren’t playing floorball –we were just clearing the ball”.

A win by twelve goals over Dalat 1, no less, was needed to qualify for the semis –the stuff fairytales are made of (or not... even fairytales aren’t so unbelievable). Mr. Lin Ken, goalkeeper of Innebandy! Co. Promised to strip and play if Frontliners did win by twelve, though realistically, a loss by a minimum number of goals would be satisfying, and a draw would be terrific. A win, then, would be perfect.

With nothing to lose and everything to win, almost the whole court was rooting for Frontliners, and the team started strongly and pressured Dalat 1 from the start. Kuan Yang tested the keeper with a few crack shots before another shot sent the crowd wild. 1-0 to Frontliners.

Frontliners held out for a few nervy moments until half-time thanks to some wonderful saves by Sharon. Dalat, though, came back strongly and stormed into the lead after an unfortunate mistake at the back. Jason again sent the everyone wild (including the opposing keeper... but the less said about it, the better) with a neat goal after some slick teamwork, creating history, for it was for the first time that Frontliners did not lose to a Dalat team.

This was where the tournament ended for Frontliners Floorball Club, who have shown a marked improvement from their last outing in the Penang Open Challenge. Less goals conceded, more goals scored, less two-minutes penalised and more experienced gained. Not bad at all.

Now to stop being so self contained and to expand more on the tournament. Contact X and Subang Rascals provided the most entertaining game of the tournament, holding the Rascals to a draw valiantly after some magnificent work by Contact’s goalie which then went on to penalties. The Rascals triumphed over Contact X in penalties after Bryan’s goal was disallowed for pulling back and Edward’s lob went agonisingly wide. (A worthy footnote: Sasi’s penalty was saved.)

Dalat 1 and Innebandy! Co. battled it out for the rights to face Subang Rascals in the finals. Leading 1-0 after a freehit, Dalat were reduced to three players after two two-minutes, but still held out to advance to the finals.

In the 3rd-4th placing match, Contact X were always on top after Kenny’s goal, bar some opportunist shots by Daniel. Edward’s goal put the game beyond doubt and Contact had only to while the game away to claim third place.

Come the final, there was little doubt around the court that Subang Rascals would run away with the title. Dalat were a good team, but Subang had just too much in reserve to lose, and proved the point over again with an emphatic win, Sasi delighting the crowd with his skills and shots. Congratulations to all who took part, especially Minden Underdawgs 1(who managed to score a goal!) and 2 who did incredibly well. Of course (this being the club blog), Frontliners did incredibly well also. But...

...back to the drawing board, Frontliners, there’s still much work to do.

Preview: Dalat-World of Floorball Challenge 2007

*Writing this while the team of the tournament plays... what a joy. One look down at my notepad and I realize I’ve just missed another brilliant play by them. Ah, well... deadlines are deadlines.*
Well, it’s finally here. The players of Frontliners Floorball Club have slaved and slogged on in training just for this (okay, not really... but you admit this sounds more dramatic). A few months ago and everyone would have written them off as no-hopers, but the foundation has been laid, and the much-harped basics have been mastered. The players have graduated from kindergarten (astutely termed by the club’s beloved coach), and they are out to prove themselves worthy of the big time.
But first... tradition calls for a meeting at McDonald’s.
Dinner at McD’s before the big day. Not very appropriate, but who cares? Some of the players really need to pack in that few extra pounds... Anyway... Mr. Jason revealed the lines as shown:
GK- Sharron Tan

Line 1- Khor Kuan Yang (c)
Jason Chan Ming Hwee
Por Kai Yann
San Jeevan
Aaron Raj/Nareenthiran Formation: 2-1-2

Line 2- Steven Tay (c)
Mekananth
Goekula Kannan
Koay Yi Lin
Kew Pei Li Formation: 2-2-1

Line 1 being the attacking line and Line 2 the opposite, he then went on explaining about the opponents to be faced, as shown in order:

Minden Underdawgs 2
Contact X
Salibandy
Dalat 1
Subang Rascals(?)

All the way to the semis... that’s right, it’s the target he set for the team. Kuan Yang and Lin Ken then gave a lowdown on the teams that were to be played with, rating Subang Rascals as the top team (5*), Dalat 1 as the second best (4.5*), Contact X (3.5*), Salibandy and Frontliners (3*) and Minden Underdawgs being relatively unknown, at (2*).

To add extra incentive to reaching the semis, Mr. Jason invented a bonus system where, when every goal was scored, everyone earned RM0.10 (no kidding) which went back into the club’s pocket if a goal was conceded. Upon reaching the semis, RM2 (sounds a lot now, huh...) was promised with suicides the exact opposite. Asking the players to set personal goals for themselves, a mystery gift was promised as a reward. Final bonus being a meal (on him!) for every Man-of-the-Match voted by the team (knowing that some players had ginormous appetites, he did not say exactly where the meal was to be had).

“I don’t think anyone has ever thought of this before... I felt I needed to motivate the players more than just promising nasi kandar after the tournament.”

Will it work? Frontliners do have the talent to make the big time, but they are perhaps a little lacking in match experience (“Our vision, after all, is to train up the well-balanced student-athlete, not assemble a team of superstars.” Quote Mr. Jason). Over-reliance on their senior players is another problem –what if something goes wrong and Steven, Kuan Yang or Jason cannot play? Where will the leadership and motivation come from, if not from them? SanJeevan can maybe stand amongst them with his skills and consistency, but is questionably lacking in the charisma to carry the team, and the others are either too young or too inconsistent to qualify. Another question to ponder on.

Speed is an asset; mental strength is a bigger one. Mr. Jason stressed repeatedly on being strong and prepared mentally, for, clich├ęd as it sounds, to say that ‘your mind is your biggest opponent’ is quite right. A 1 Ringgit nasi kandar drink was promised if the players would not falter mentally, and that says a lot.

Frontliners start their world conquest two hours from now (...and I am no closer to finishing this). Training isn’t the same as the real thing, but that’s all one can do –to train as hard as possible and... pray?

Perhaps next time –this league is another stepping stone on the way up, and if the team learns and remembers (most important), they’ll be well on their way to conquering the world.