After listening to speaker Ms. Rosa P. Calleja. Regarding concerns and questions about the proposed National Sports Academy. On Pinoyathletics Track Talk Tuesday’s. It led to even more worrying questions that even I had not thought of. And made me feel less comfortable with the proposed National Sports Academy. For those of you a disclaimer and warning that what is written is not for the faint-hearted. This is a continuation of our previous write up regarding concerns on the National Sports of Sport of the Philippines
Will CLRAA joins NCR and STCAA as the Big Three Recruiters of the Future
On a previous Forum of the Sports Council of the Philippines, another female speaker (not Calleja) tried stating that the National Academy of Sport of the Philippines will be good for regionalization.
How will it be good for regionalization?
How will it be good for grass root coaches?
Grass root coaches already have to contend, athletes, they develop going to richer regions like NCR and STCAA. Now unless CLRAA is just going to be for its own Region. How is that helping the rest of the country? Of course, the speaker refused to comment struggling to justify what she had just stated.
Back to track talk with Calleja. It was unclear what region the athletes will represent at the Palaro if there is an exodus or deluge of athletes from other regions that will be absorbed into the National Academy of Sport of the Philippines.
Will they have to go and compete for their region?
And if so do they need to join the city/provincial qualifying and regional tournaments?
or will they now be competing for a future powerhouse CLRAA?
The DepEd is still figuring that out despite a bill has been passed. Here’s hoping everything falls into place as time goes on.
As time goes on it seem schools are going after younger and younger athletes. And it won’t be long before Elementary athletes are being headhunted.
New Residency Rule of DEPED
It was highlighted the DEPED is looking at bringing in a new 1-year residency rule. What this means is athletes that change the region must miss one year of eligibility at Palarong Pambansa and wait till the following year to represent their new region.
While Pinoyathletics has been putting pressure on DEPED to do something about the deluge of athletes being lured by richer private schools via social media. We do welcome this. However, Pinoyathletics feels the DEPED must take a stronger approach we initially suggested. And that is to ban all athletes who change the region from the Palaro unless they are moving region for a reasonable reason. For example if the whole family moves and relocates for work.
This is better than having a separate national high school championship for private and public schools. As private schools with all the resources will still continue to grab all the athletes. It will deter private schools if they have no league to join.
Furthermore it would be good practice for CHED in line with DEPED to also apply this residency rule. So athletes that are switching even between say SCUAA and PRISAA to UAAP will also endure a 1 year residency.
National Academy of Sport of the Philippines – World Class Athletes?
The DepEd is stating it wants to produce world-class athletes. But was not sure how to define it.
Australian Coach and former head Gintong Alay coach Tony Benson gave the best definition of how to class high school age athletes as world-class. Its if they can meet the qualifying standards for the World Youth and World Junior competitions which are held every 2 years on alternate years. So far nearly all the Palarong Pambansa and National Junior records (meaning the best ever in that event) of the Philippines are below the qualifying criteria.
As observed it seems common practice for a lot of common coaching principles to be disregarded during a lot of in house training’s. In house training is what is implemented one month before Palaro. These include Impromptu Time Trials, Excessive training sessions, in some cases rest and recovery not being adhered to, and focus on quantity of running rather than quality of technique.
World-Class Coaches? Where to next?
The next question is which coaches will coach at this National Sports Academy? Obviously to level up standards international ones. But then what happens after High school.
Why have world-class coaches in high school?
And then offload athletes to UAAP?
That are clearly not equipped with world-class coaches or facilities.
Unless there are plans to replace these coaches as well with higher-skilled coaches. And even if UAAP had enough coaches to produce World Class athletes then what about the level of competition provided?
Even if the athlete has world-class coaching in the Philippines or they also build a National Sports College the level of competition is not enough. An athlete must move on after this to the United States (strongest league world NCAA), Europe (lots of good meets), or Australia if they want to continue their status as a world-level athlete.
Psychological Issues being away from parents?
Having worked at the Zamboanga Sports Academy (essentially a boarding school) before. My job did not stop as a coach on the track. It was very hard work maintaining my squad. While I was lucky enough not to have any kids quit. It was not without sacrifice having to spend time with the help of my assistant coach who often acted as mediator, the school principal, and school guidance counsellor keeping the kid’s stress levels down due to long periods away from their parents.
Unfortunately for the two local athletics coaches there that weren’t the case as they lost 1/2 to 2/3 of their athletes due to homesickness stress. These two other coaches had their own families so they simply did not have the time to put into keeping stress levels and retaining homesick athletes.
Take into account also the parents were maybe 1-hour drive away at most as this is a provincial academy situation. So they could come by anytime they wanted to visit their children. And the children go to to go home every 2 weeks. The thing is to remember they are athletes but they are children first. And children need their parents. The parents really want their kids to stay at the school as provincial parents sometimes have 6-10 kids. So one less mouth to feed and take care of made it easier on them. However at the end of the day if the children wanted to go home even if the parents wanted them to stay not much could be done. The risk was the child might run away if they didn’t want to be at the academy and the parents didn’t want them to go home.
So with the National Sports Academy, it will face this problem along with as a multiple of others. The kids cant exactly go home every two weeks as they are from all over an archipelago separated by water. What the Zamboanga Sports academy faced will be magnified at the National Sports Academy.
Miss Calleja also advised they will have house parents. These house parents must be perfectly screened because in the Philippines a lot of deviants will be applying for jobs that give them easy access to vulnerable children.
The Need for a National Sports Philosophy
Finally this last part is contributed by Lyceum of Manila Sports Director Dean Hercules Callanta. Who has advocated on several recent online forums the strong need for a National Sports Philosophy.
- How will that work?
- Who are qualified?
- Students need to relocate to Tarlac away from their family?
- Is there a dorm or housing?
- Which region will they represent at Palaro since they are now studying in Tarlac?
- What about the psychological effect on the child if he has to dorm away from his family at an early age? Psychologists, Guidance councillors
- Vulnerable children, screening of staff to avoid paedophiles and deviants being employed to work with children.
- Is this an elementary to SHS level school or including college?
- What are the credentials of coaches they would hire for the NAS? If you hire international coaches then u need even better for UAAP
- What is the purpose and objective of NAS and how do they plan to achieve it?
- Where do athletes go after.
Building the hardware infrastructure is important but the soft skills needed to make it successful is just as important both in the administrators and coaches. Are they hiring foreign coaches to handle the program?
Andrew is an ATFS Statiscian in Athletics with a wide range of knowledge in measurable sports. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And is current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Currently, he is coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]