24 October 2018

Coaching the Young National Basketballers

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By: Irwan Shah (Photos: Koh Meng Koon)

Mention basketball and you will see the sparkle in Station Inspector (SI) Koh Meng Koon’s eyes. Standing at 6 feet 10 inches tall, the Public Communications Executive from the Public Affairs Department, spends his weekends (when he is not on duty) training youths who are playing for Singapore’s National Under-18 Basketball
Team. Having coached the team for two years, Police Life spoke to SI Koh to find out more about his basketball journey. 

How did your basketball journey begin? 

It all started when my friend invited me to join them for a basketball game when I was 17. One game led to another and my love for basketball grew stronger with each game. Playing the sport together was also a means for us to catch up with one another as we were often tied down with our own schooling commitments. Apart from my own interest, my friends did to some extent, also influenced my decision in taking up the sport. With their
encouragement, I eventually joined the Mountbatten Community Sports Club and participated in local tournaments. 

A year later, at one of the tournaments, I was scouted by the selection committee from the Basketball Association of Singapore. After several trials, I eventually made it to the National Team. Since then, I have represented Singapore for 15 years. 

Share with us some of your proudest moments. 

I was over the moon when I became the Most Valuable Player for the Six Nations Basketball Good Will Meet 2002 in Myanmar and subsequently winning the Nike Best Shooter Award in the 12th Super Kung Sheung Basketball Championship 2003 in Hong Kong. It felt especially rewarding since I started out as a benchwarmer and slowly worked my way up through years of sheer hard training and determination.  

Understand that you are currently coaching the National Basketball Team on weekends.

What inspired you to take on this role? 

I have learnt a lot over the years playing for the National Team. By taking on this role, I believe that I can impart my knowledge and skills to other aspiring basketball players. In addition, I would also like to share life lessons learnt from my work as a police officer and inculcate the ‘right’ values in my players so that they would not be caught up in the pursuit of winning and forget the spirit of sportsmanship. 


How do you manage your commitments? 

In order to juggle between my work, family and basketball, I have to maintain a high level of discipline and be very clear with my priorities. As far as possible, I will schedule my training sessions such that they do not clash with my work commitments and still allow me to have time with my family. Apart from my own self-discipline and supportive family, I am also blessed with colleagues who will always be there to support me when the need arises. 

What is the biggest challenge that you face? 

The inculcation of the ‘right’ values in these young players. In sports, players may ‘lose’ themselves if there are only fixated on winning. Albeit the importance of winning, I want my team to also focus on the process; what have they learnt from that experience. It is always important to be an earnest and humble learner.

What are your learning lessons as a coach? 

I have learnt to be patient and understanding when I am coaching the young players. Even at work, this experience has helped me to better guide the Full-Time Police National Servicemen who are attached to my team.

Last Updated on 24 October 2018