I was excited to visit the US on a sports diplomacy trip to learn and develop the content related to Inclusive Coaching for SG-Coach’s formal coach education. The trip was organized by the US Department of State, SportCares, SportSG and FHI 360.
Looking back on the trip, two things stood out. The first would be the new friendships forged. With those that I’ve known prior to the trip, we grew closer and renewed our commitment to make Singapore a more inclusive society.
Secondly, I am so thankful to be given the chance to learn from the many successful American sports teams, schools and non-profit organizations such as Cincinnati Football Club, US Paralympic Swimming, University of Texas Swimming and Dive Team, Starfire Council, Special Olympics Texas and The Play for All Abilities Park.
“What is their formula for their success?”
“What makes these organizations achieve the seemingly impossible?”
Success leaves clues and these were questions that I needed answers to. This post is a reflection about the fundamental commonalities that make these organizations successful.
Two of the biggest influence on my approach to coaching – Process Focused Coaching, are Albert Ellis and Ken Ravizza. Both have passed on, and both were heavily influenced by the Stoic philosophy.
Ellis was described as a ‘Stoic Philosopher with a Sailor’s Mouth’. He was inspired by the writings of Stoic Philosophers to devise Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT). REBT was the first form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy and is still my preferred technique for athlete counseling.
According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.” This is a dead ringer to the quote below by Epictetus (one of the three most important Stoic philosophers along with Marcus Aurelius and Seneca).
“It isn’t the events themselves that disturb people, but only their judgments about them.” – Epictetus
Yup! We did not qualify for the 2017 Asean Para Games (APG).
Our commitment was questionable (attendance wasn’t up to mark) and although the women’s team had good results from friendly games, these were not IBSA sanctioned competitions. Results from IBSA sanctioned events are used as the main benchmarks for qualification.
Unfortunately, the latter is a real challenge mainly because the APG is the ONLY IBSA sanctioned competition for South East Asian countries. The level of competition for other IBSA events are at a much higher level and only Thailand competes at these competitions.
The cost is also high – USD 600 per player for a recent Asia Pacific competition organized by Thailand. Also, our players may not be able to take leave for overseas competition due to work or school commitments.
In addition, unlike our regional counterparts where selection can be made from domestic competitions, we do not have a big pool of players for any meaningful domestic competitions.
Given these circumstances, we will work with the SDSC to come up with a revised plan to measure the team’s progress leading up to APG 2019 (which also marks the end of the team’s five year plan). Should qualification for APG 2019 be improbable, then we will be better off directing our efforts towards a different pathway so long as the team’s core purpose – ‘To provide opportunities for persons with visual impairments to participate in a competitive team sport’ is still met.