Friday, August 22, 2008

APAC 2008: And So They Speak

Jason Chan and Khor Kuan Yang speak to frontlinersfloorball.blogspot ahead of the Asia Pacific Floorball Championships 2008 in Australia (25-29 August) on their medal chances, thoughts of the team and money matters.

FFC: Thoughts before the big moment?
Jason: I am pretty cool here.
Kuan Yang: Messy. So many things to handle last minute. The flight ticket, the visa, packing the bags and shopping for items. And also very pressured between training, working, shopping, packing and organising a tournament.

FFC: Do you think you'll ever get tired of pulling on the Malaysian jersey? How proud do you feel?
Jason: As long as my services are required, I'll be there. I wish that I don't have to play for Malaysia again in another three years time. I would prefer to see our own young and new generation rising up and don(ning) the national jersey. That's why I'm working hard on the grassroots. I hope that one day, I'll be sponsoring players to go abroad rather than playing myself.
Kuan Yang: Tired? Never. I'll try and go for as much international tournaments as possible within my financial reach and until you guys rise up and overtake us (laughs). Proud? Never thought of it with so many things to prepare and settle to go for APAC. Maybe after everything is done and when I sit down to reflect, maybe I'll feel proud representing Malaysia.

FFC: How hard is it for you, financially speaking, to scrape together enough for you to go to Australia?
Jason: Money is a big issue for everyone. It shouldn't be an excuse for anyone since coach has been talking about this since last year's APAC. I had to save and cut down some cost like food and travelling. It's hard for Penangites like me.
Surprisingly my dad decided to sponsor me to Perth after I finally convinced him that it is my dream to make floorball big in Malaysia. I am touched that my dad is willing to sponsor me. It means a lot to me.
However, I have saved some of my money to go to Perth just in case. I was ready to dig (in) my savings to go to Perth. If money is a problem, pray, and ask God for the money. God is always faithful.
Kuan Yang: Money is quite an issue. But with a little loan from my parents, I managed to cover it lor. So the more savings to repay the loan when I get back. Sweat.

FFC: What do you think of the team this year, compared to last year's?
Jason: I think that this year's team is tactics-wise stronger than the previous year. I believe we will be more tactical and organized. A lot of us have matured in our gameplay from last year after gaining more experience. And yes, I expect more discipline and authority from everyone especially with (our) new national coach, Edward Lim on the board.
Kuan Yang: I feel we are slightly lacking in man power with the NTU (Nanyang Technological University) fellas missing, and the absence of Penang's key players such as Des(wyn), "Suzie", Sam and Lin Ken. So there will be a lot of very tired legs in Perth.

FFC: Let's be objective. Where do you think the team's strengths and weaknesses lie?
Jason: The team (is) mainly made up of Penang representatives with some coming from Selangor. Penang players are technically good. The first line has good understanding and team play. We have good shooters like Ter Min and Kuan Yang. Both have good drag shots. I am counting on the two to get the goals. Besides that, Oliver is another good forward with some really hard shots. Malaysia has a good balance of right and left hand shooters.
We have a very strong defender, Sjaiful from KL who will be one of the pillars of the team. Inspirational, reliable and confident. He'll be a hard nut to crack for the opponents.
Our weakness will be the centre. We lack a proper playmaker like Deswyn or Sam. The others that have been entrusted that position may lack the experience to fill in the role. Many times we fail to effectively take control of the centre, leaving empty spaces for opponents to terrorize.
Aside from Sjaiful, we may lack proper defenders for the team at international level. Our other pillars in defence are not around.
Lack of international size playing experience and using of the board can be a shortcoming.
Fitness will be an issue. We need to be fit like Spartans to last the game at the international stage.
But personally, I feel that the strength of the Malaysian team this year will be the mastermind, Coach Edward Lim, the brains behind the team. I have faith that he'll cook up some strategy and tactics to get us through. He has proven himself to be Malaysia's best coach to me. I'm counting on him to bring us forward.
Kuan Yang: This is a hard one... strengths I would say half of the team has played together last year so we might gel faster than last year. Weakness... too many to start with, so let's hope for the best.

FFC: Can anything ever beat the emotion from last year's match against Australia B?
Jason: At this moment, that's the best moment in Malaysia floorball history. Why? You get to see Malays, Chinese and Indians from the whole (of) Malaysia, putting aside every difference and being united as Malaysians and fight for Malaysia. How often (do) you get to see that?
Kuan Yang: That was the most memorable match ever for me personally. Defending a power play with a 6-5 lead with less than 2 minutes, scoring the 7th goal which sealed the match, everyone when crazy and relieved. I hope we'll get to surpass last year's ecstasy with some good performances this time around.

FFC: Who do you think will be the team to watch out for; your toughest opponents; in this year's APAC?
Jason: It will definitely have to be Singapore. Playing against them is like playing against the Sweden of Asia. They've got everything. Skills, tactics and fitness. A team of players with flair. They are the favourites for the tournament.
Kuan Yang: I think all of them would be tough. The host, who would have trained together for quite awhile, the super-fit Koreans and the skillful Singaporeans. But I will have to single out the Singaporeans as our toughest opponents. Best team in Asia Pacific.

FFC: C'mon, we gotta have this: Predictions for Malaysia's medal chances?
Jason: We're fighting for at least one medal. So that's the target. We have a 50-50 chance to achieve that. This is the target set by the coach. I believe it's feasible. It's all in the mind. It's all in the heart. MALAYSIA BOLEH!!!
Kuan Yang: With five teams competing, we might manage to get our hands on bronze, maybe? Let's not think too far ahead, getting into the semi's should be realistic, so let's take it a game at a time.

FFC: Look forward to anything else beside the floorball in Perth?
Jason: I am focused. I am only here to play floorball for the country. The rest... I don't care. After coming a hard way to bring myself to the national team, that's the only thing on my mind.
Kuan Yang: Not really cause I don't really know what are the attractions in Perth. Leederville, to be exact.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Training: Between Balls and Blades

Spot who doesn't fit in. Number 9 of the club, Mekananth, was welcomed back, apparently unaware of the club's new ruling. Grace was given, however --no 20 push-ups for Happylegs.

Attendance vastly improved by 100% from seven to fifteen, including Coach Jason above, who, having seen the recent post, actually posed for the camera (and blaming the unfortunate photographer for 'taking too long'). Notice the ball...

Training started off with the players pairing up and running forward and backwards facing each other, up and down the court. This was to train the player's running, though poor Roselyn was suffering going backwards as fast as possible due to Pei Li's longer stride.

The players then did a drill they did two weeks before: run up, receive and pass back, run to the centre and shoot. The pace was slow at first with balls being misplaced and passes all over the place so Coach Jason called the players together....and demonstrated how to do the drill again, placing importance on always holding the stick with two hands (something Kuan Yang also demonstrated but in a more stylish way below).

So the players started again, and it went better, Coach Jason even joining in the fun and getting a goal.

The seniors and juniors then split again, this time however, with Coach Jason taking the juniors. The seniors were made to do passes mainly -- Cpass, line pass and star pass; with some competitive edge to it. The first team to reach 30 passes for each player would win. It would, of course, often get frustrating, as when a player had nearly reached the target but the ball would suddenly skip off course.

The juniors did a pass-run-pass-shoot exercise and also star passing.

Now to the fun part. The ball that Coach Jason was part of another awesome drill. Sort of a captain ball-floorball fusion, the Juniors would be the captain ball attackers and the Seniors, the floorball defenders. This was to train the players' positioning in offence and defence, where to run and what to do.

It was interesting at first, with Megan nearly breaking his stick trying to stop the ball (the sticks weren't supposed to be used-- the defenders were only supposed to track the opponents) and the Juniors having to pump 20 everytime the ball was judged too high, for lobbing the ball high overhead was not allowed.

The teams then switched: Seniors and attackers and Juniors, defenders. The Seniors considerably had more fun, though Megan, in all excitement, threw the ball high and cost the whole team 20 push-ups.

Coach Jason was left bemused at why Pei Li knew where to run in this drill but not in floorball.

Game time, a 5v5. The battle was mostly in the middle, with no goals scored either side. Coach Jason and Kuan Yang bossed the field with their dribbling skills, but Kenny, with no Nicholas or any of his Gang of Four around, was a little lost.

Mikey did well, learning from the captain ball drill, intercepting several passes.

The match ended, and Roselyn was left to rue the super sweat-absorbing PFA floorball shirt.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Club's New Record

A new record for Frontliners Floorball Club with an attendance of 7 players due to school replacements and some went to KL for a tournament. The club also want to welcome back our long lost player, Kannan. With the number of players turn out, Coach Kuan Yang couldn’t do many things. He could only teach the players some basic skills.

During training, Coach Kuan Yang ordered the players to make passes with their partners. Khai, our goalkeeper transformed himself to be a player. Although he lacked of basic skills like ball controlling, he never gave up but having fun instead.

There were some drills made with turning around as well as spinning. “This drill will train you guys to bend your knees and speed,” said Coach Kuan Yang. After this drill, there was another drill (not really a drill la...) called ‘ball protection’ (without sticks). The player who has to protect the ball needs to prevent the opponent from kicking the ball away. All the players seem to having so much fun.

Around 10.00am, it was match time as everyone was waiting for. They could only play 3 on 4 as there were not enough people. The match was created with some new rules for the team who has 4 players. They need to pass the ball around with at least 5 passes before scoring a goal. After some time, another rule was created by Coach Kuan Yang mentioning that everyone in the team has to touch the ball at least once. Without any complains, the match was then continued.

At 11.00am, the training ended as the players had requested. Coach Kuan Yang announced about the upcoming competitions on September. He also commented about the training that the players are not energetic as before due to hot sun and used to play in indoors.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Training: Normally Awesome!

17 Frontliners looking smart in black as the new rule was passed: Wear the shirt or gimme twenty. Last training, Frontliners Floorball Club welcomed back a host of players missing from exams/uni and work commitments. The two below are Sanjeevan (spot the ball!) and Sharron Tan, national goalie.
As Jason was unavailable, Kuan Yang took over training, seen below in his super-gaya look (note: he was not posing for the camera!) and amazing stick colour combination, whilst Pei Li took over with the juniors.

Sonia (above), displaying her new stick with pride as she finally could stand up tall with a longer stick, during passing as warm-up. In the midst of warm-up, Kuan Yang was shuffling up and down the court, placing cones, garbage bins and benches everywhere. He then called the players together and announced......(you know the game you played when you were still kids, the so-called newspaper snowball fights?) Seven warriors, seven sticks and eight balls each side. Toss the balls over the benches, keep them out of your zone, and you win!

Awesome innovation!

The players enjoyed themselves thoroughly, slicing one ball up only for it to hit the bench and rebound. Every once in a while a ball would finally cross over... and when the first round ended, it was all square. The second round was for a minute only, and the players lobbed and shot and tried to airhook the balls over. Kuan Yang rang the bell for the end of the war and counted... eight balls on one side, therefore eight balls on the other...

Apparently not. One ball had very mysteriously disappeared...

Who knows? The club could do a spot-the-ball contest in the picture below to find it...
Back to business, however, and enter goalie Soon Khai with a proper helmet this time and fluorescent orange shoes. The players started off slow but quickly picked up the pace, however, while technique was lacking, enthusiasm certainly wasn't!
Kuan Yang then separated the seniors and the juniors. With the seniors, he did some drills he taught them the week before like Figure Eight and Short Circuit. The juniors mostly practiced on shooting and movement.

Game in no time, Kuan Yang shooing everyone out of the court to simulate real line changes. Not used to it, players would sometimes hop out at whichever side they were closest to and also take too long in changing, enabling the opposing team to score a simple goal.

It was midway through game time that Mikey arrived straight from school just to play in the last half hour. Sanjeevan made his presence felt with another trademark rocket from half-court, proving his touch has not deserted him.
Later after training ended Sharron gave Soon Khai some goalie tips to use in the future.

...waiting with bated breath to see what other awesome things the coaches will come up with next training. See you there!

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Battlegrounds

The first training was held at Holy Spirit Church Hall. Coach Kuan Yang started the training late due to some players were not familiar with the new place. Coach Jason (for juniors) took charged on the junior team. There were two newbie, Michael and Joshua joined us for training. Yaahooo! Welcome to Frontliners Floorball Club guys!

Coach Khor Kuan Yang instructed the seniors’ players to do one of Finland pass. They were emphasized on their body postures in order to pass properly to our own team’s blade (Steven). There was also a drill called ‘Eight’ (named by Roselyn) was taught on that day. One more is passing to each other and after the last passed is take a shot in front of goalkeeper. Want to guess more numbers? Do join our club. =0)

Now, it is always match time which everyone was waiting for. As usual, the first team played 3v3 as there were many players. As time passed by, one-by-one of the players went off. So, due to the number of players left, Coach Kuan Yang managed to form a team of five and play 5 seniors vs. 6 juniors.

Around 11.45a.m, most of the players commented that the training was good. Coach Jason introduced Frontliners Floorball Committee and he shared Frontliners Floorball Club vision is to enlarge so that can be divided into 3 main teams (seniors, girl and junior team).

Wooo Yes! Clap! Dismissed…