Treiner Chats – In conversation with… Kogulan Sabaratnam

Kogulan recently discussed with the Treiner media team about staying motivated while training through Covid-19 restrictions, challenges of transitioning to virtual sessions, his top tips for a return-to-normal training, and much more.

by Treiner

Posted 3 years ago

Treiner Chats – In conversation with… Kogulan Sabaratnam

Kogulan Sabaratnam is Treiner’s co-founder and has helped nurture young football talent for ten years. The most notable success story out of his training programs is Australia U/18s’ international Bradley Chick, who is currently plying his trade in the US College football system.

Kogulan’s playing experiences across Japan and Australia provided him with a firm foundation for transitioning into coaching. Currently holding an FFA/AFC ‘A’ License and an AFC Level 1 Futsal License, his coaching philosophy is based around player-centred learning.

He has previously undertaken senior coaching and technical director roles across some of the biggest names of Victorian football, including Box Hill United, Eltham Redbacks and Bulleen Lions. He spent over two-and-a-half years with Melbourne City as an Academy Coach.

Kogulan has also had a long-standing presence within Football Victoria, as a futsal coach, presenter and assessor.

Here’s what he had to say during our recent interview:

# On staying motivated during Covid-19…

Getting back into a routine was important. So making sure I was doing my own football training five times a week, plus doing gym work six days a week, was important. Fitting work as a teacher around this meant that there was less time spent staring aimlessly at a computer.

# On adapting to training under restrictions…

Training in an individual or small group environment was not hard at all. However, the return to training in a team environment was very difficult. It was almost easier to pivot the focus of team training to something that was almost identical to working in small groups. The hardest part was probably 3-4 weeks into the Return-to-Training period, where players started to become less motivated with the lack of competition and physical contact you could have while playing. It was difficult to maintain realism in a session because it was unrealistic.

# On seeking necessary support

The best way was to talk to other coaches and mentors, that I had to try to view training sessions from a different perspective to maintain the quality and the desired outcomes of a session.

# On transitioning to online/virtual training…

It was very difficult to keep players engaged. Setting up little tasks for players to do at home was fine. However, if players were extrinsically motivated, it was almost impossible to have any sort of progression week to week. Players who were intrinsically motivated fared a lot better here. Lots of feedback was requested, and self-review on the conduct of these sessions was important to improve the quality.

# On learning new things behind the scenes…

I enjoyed using the lockdown to revisit my vision and philosophy (V+P) –starting to get visual aids to develop my V+P and go into even more detail about how to add more variety to it.

# On Treiner’s support during this challenging phase…

Covid gave me a lot of free time and I was running 8-10 private training sessions a week, which would piggyback off my own training sessions. Using the platform made it easy. It allowed me to plan my week, send a link to players to collect payment securely, and provided security if sessions got cancelled or had to be rearranged.

# On his advice to players and coaches for a return to normal training…

Firstly, you play and coach football, because it is fun. Yes, you can be serious and push yourself, because you want to be the best. [But] it is meant to be fun and should not be a stress in your life.

Secondly, play games. We have done enough individual ball-mastery and conditioning practices during our time off. Play games. Score goals and have a laugh.

Thirdly, try those new things you worked on during Covid. New analysis software, different sessions, different coaching methodology or your updated components for your V+P. For players, it could be that 1-v-1 skill you spent hours working. Do it 10 times in that game your coach is reffing... You have to try what you worked on during Covid, otherwise, it was all for nothing.

Kogulan specialises in flexible 1-on-1, small group, team training and futsal training sessions, emphasising on creating a conducive environment where players can progress.

For players needing to tune up on their skills before squad trials begin, you can book in sessions with Kogulan. To see testimonials on his work and book a session, visit:

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