The SKBB Hockey Story: No Substitute for Hard, Consistent Work on the Road to Success

Last week, Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Bandaraya achieved the amazing feat of being crowned KL champions in the boys and girls under-12 category during KL inter-zone hockey tournament. The boys emerged champions for the first time while the girls triumphed for the third time.

SKBB boys edged St John's 2 - 1 while the girls beat Sri Cheras 2 - 0 in the KL inter-zone finals. This was after they qualified for the tournament by winning the Bangsar zone competition, where the boys trounced Hishamuddin 8 - 0 and the girls beat Taman Desa 3 - 0.

Boys and girls in action

Having both the boys and girls emerge champions of KL is a remarkable feat, and I'm not sure whether it has been done before. Outstanding teams almost always have an outstanding coach and/or a few very good players and SKBB had both.

Coached by the highly dedicated parent Mr Gurdip Singh, and supported by a very strong parent group, SKBB has developed from a school without a hockey team into a powerhouse in seven years.

Mr Gurdip and his team

As the parent of two players from the girls team, I had the privilege of being involved with the group this year after deciding to transfer my kids to SKBB, just to be part of this wonderfully dedicated parent group who are set up for success.

The team's players train all year round, at least twice a week during the weekends in the off-season and even more during the hockey season, i.e. the first four months of the year. They also take part in carnival format tournaments throughout the year.

This takes enormous dedication not only from the players but also the parents.  Most of the SKBB players attend the development programme conducted by the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA). They have to send and pick-up their kids from training at 3  - 5 pm every Saturday and Sunday. 

It's not easy when that is the perfect time to take a nap or go for outings with the kids during the weekend.  Some of the parents hang around and help out, some like me exercise in the area and some come back to collect the kids. In my kids' previous school, none of the parents were interested in taking the time to send their children to this programme. Hence our decision to switch.

Captains, Daniel and Kirandeep Kaur lifting the Zone Bangsar trophy

Some of our players, especially Mr Gurdip's own children, even attend training for older players whenever they get a chance. By the time they play in the school competition, they are already very experienced.

Unlike other teams, SKBB also has very young players in the squad. They have three Standard 2 kids and seven Standard 3 players. Most other schools only consider pupils from Standard 5 and Standard 6.
The training regime is not really intense as these kids are still young, but the sessions are long and focussed on skills. Fitness is developed by playing games. This way the players are seldom bored.  However, some fitness work is done nearer to the tournament.

Just to put things into perspective, in one of the weekends close to the tournament, the team trained a total of seven hours. Four hours under the KLHA development programme and three hours for the school team.  This was approximately the sum of the total training hours of my kids' previous school for the Bangsar zone tournament.

This year alone they took part in two competitions in Seremban, with the girls winning both and the boys emerging runners up and semi-finalists. This was part of the preparations for the KL tournament.

Success at the KLIA Open in Seremban

The parent support is phenomenal. Almost every parent is involved. As for Mr Gurdip, he spends most of the weekends training the kids. I don't think he or many of the parents, including myself, find it a chore, as it is has become our weekend social activity.

It was also no surprise that the runners-up St John's, also had a strong parent group. Basically the boys final pitting the strongest teams also involved the most dedicated player and parent groups.

Two teams with dedicated parent support groups

Normally in any sporting activity or competitive endeavour, consistent hard work will not guarantee that you become champion. But, the champion is probably one who worked hard consistently. Even if you don't win, you are satisfied you have given your best, and this will surely stand you in good stead in other more important areas in life.

Note:  After we switched to SKBB, my wife remarked that we finally found a team and parent group that matched my competitive drive. (Well, she did not exactly say 'competitive drive', but rather my  'kiasuness'. I disagree with that description. Anyway its my blog so can rephrase as I wish.)

More Photos

Big parent turnout even in Seremban

Mr Gurdip standing next to En. Zulkafli
who helps train the boys 

 Pn Wana (far left) and Mr Kuldip (centre) play
important roles on the management side
Training session at the KPM Stadium


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