Volleyball slapping incident: Communicating better and unlearning old practices

PARTICIPATION in sports has always been a popular choice to encourage healthier lifestyles as well as promote indirect benefits to one’s mental wellbeing and social development.

However, the competitive scene of sports is much harsher for athletes because the trainings are tougher, competitors are ruthless, and the coaches are stricter.

In such an environment, it is vital for healthy communication between the players and the coaches to be built on a foundation of mutual trust.

This is because the fear of underperforming and punishment can greatly impact a player’s ability to focus on the match, as well as long-term development in the field.

Therefore, I urge everyone who is in a mentor position to stop perpetuating violence as part of their syllabus.

Understandably, it could have been the tradition of the past and even part of their own journey from a player to a coach; however, now that they are coaches, they can put a stop to this unhealthy cycle from their predecessors.

Research have shown that physical punishment does not promote long-term positive behaviour. Meanwhile, many countries and associations around the world have also moved past the use of physical punishment in teaching in the past few decades.

Furthermore, a good teacher knows that no two students are the same, and it is part of the teacher’s learning experience to find ways to connect with each student.

I take note that the Malaysia Volleyball Association (MAVA) has suspended the coach in question pending investigation to be carried out, and I believe that they will act accordingly afterwards.

Such physical abuse should not be normalised and I hope that the National Sports Council and Youth and Sports Ministry will also find ways to prevent such unhappy incidents such as the expedition of a whistle-blower hotline. – Jan 3, 2023


Saw Yee Fung is the MCA spokesperson.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: FMT

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