Posted in Uncategorized

Jamaica Is In – Sport and Tourism

Kingston, JAMAICA – Jamaica’s sport and tourism exploits are well known worldwide. The two industries separately account for a significant portion of the popularity of the island.

The product sport tourism, while not new, is one which Jamaica has great potential and Carole Beckford in her latest publication, Jamaica is In -Sport and Tourism has outlined her views on the subject matter.

book-cover-2016
Book Cover 

The 115-page book takes a comprehensive look at how sport, tourism, and sport tourism have evolved in a developing economy like Jamaica. The book covers the period 2007 – 2014 and looks at preparation for the Beijing and London Summer Olympic Games along with other events and/or activities which offered Jamaica a competitive advantage.

Beckford, in the book insists that the island possesses all elements of a formula for a successful sport tourism industry; but the agencies have been slow in implementing what is required to make the industry work.

Among a number of key issues discussed are sport and the environment; sport and politics; export of sport services and administrative structures, to name a few.

As a member of the Business of Sport team in Jamaica, she insists, sport and tourism combined are key to enhancing the island’s social and economic development, while achieving goals of inclusion.

With a body of work in sport at several levels covering almost three decades, Beckford thinks it is time Jamaica formalizes its plan to convert for a successful sport tourism business model to benefit the island.

Assistant Professor, David Edwards, Johnson and Wales University, Brand Specialist, David Faulks, Australia and Business Management expert, Horace Madison, New York have all given the publication thumbs up.

The book will is available online https://www.bookfusion.com/books/117289-jamaica-is-in-sport-and-tourism for US$17.50

Posted in Uncategorized

Dahlia Harris – 2016 was good!

Kingston, JAMAICA – When one hears the name Dahlia Harris, so many things come to mind. We could try the following: teacher, social commentator, scholar, broadcaster, theatre practitioner…whew, but there is more. Catch her on the volleyball or netball courts for about five minutes and you’d never guess. In other rounds, Dahlia epitomizes the term all-rounder.

The year so far has been a good one, but there are so many things that could have been done, but 2017, watch out!

Dahlia Harris

The focus of this blog though is really to check in on Dahlia. Every now and again one has to stop and just wonder what will she do next. The latest project, Ring Games (on TVJ) has been a stunner and “so far, so good,” says Dahlia. We asked her a few questions which we think will give you a clear insight on what 2016 was like and the plans she has for 2017 & beyond. Here she shares some of her thoughts.

How was 2016 for you? 
2016 was a real challenge with respect to achieving both personal and professional goals. It also reinforced that achievement should not only be measured by the end result, but also by the process undertaken.  There were a number of things that I set out to do that never came to fruition.  The process developed my capacity to successfully complete similar tasks in the future.  Most importantly, 2016 helped me to realise that there’s a reason why we have roses…we need to stop and smell them more often.
Share some highlights of the year 
Professionally the highlight for me was being able to star in my first feature film ‘It’s a Family Affair’ and to collaborate with TVJ on the production of the dramedy ‘Ring Games’. There’s a lot more that I want to do in film and television and I believe both productions were able to showcase my potential.  Personally, it was a really challenging time for my mother with respect to her health.  Watching her overcome that, and experiencing the way my family and friends rallied around her, made me realise how fortunate I am.
familyaffaira20161104c
Jamaica’s theatre scene has been active this year, do you think it is making the impact it deserves
Until theatre is recognised for its developmental capacity and not just its entertainment value I don’t think it’s impact will ever be recognised.  A lot of what we see happening in our society is a failure to effectively express ourselves, to voice our concerns, to discover culturally relevant ways to address our challenges. With 14 parishes and only two have fully functional theatre spaces. I don’t think I need to say more than that.
How can public/private sector help to fuel energy in theatre in Jamaica
There are a few organisations that are supportive of theatre.  In some instances they purchase tickets for performances hosted by charitable organisations.  There is still a lot about our private sector however that I don’t understand. We like to reference countries like Canada and places like London and other major cities and how their societies/people operate.  One of the things that stands out in these places is the way in which their private sector invests in the Arts, performance spaces, museums, cultural activities, community programmes …the private sector takes ownership of cultural development.  If we agree that Culture is a national state of being, then our private sector needs to decide on the kind of environment they wish to operate in.
We heard some news about use of the Ward Theatre, and of course we had to ask Dahlia what were her views on that special place downtown Kingston
Any views on the Ward Theatre? 
I will continue to state that the Ward should represent what it did over a century ago.  It was a contemporary relevant space on par with the world’s best.  There is too much emphasis on preserving the physical building, we need to work on preserving the purpose of the space.
Ward Theatre
We could make it a regional model with respect to its technical capacity, including stage automation which among other things allows sets to move on and off seamlessly.  Overseas producers could once again be courted to mount shows in order to assess their viability for a future on Broadway. Technical training and certification could also be a part of its sustainability. We could also activate a number of cultural agreements to offer specialised training….Russia for example could be approached to fund courses in ballet.
I know that there are plans to redevelop downtown Kingston, until that is done and security is improved, patrons will struggle to attend shows at the present location.  Parking also hampers accessibility.   I think it’s way past time for us to examine the possibility of relocating the Ward.   For me,  Heroes Park would make a prime location.  It would still be within the environs of downtown Kingston, has more than adequate space for parking, and is more secure than the present location.
In part 2, we ask Dahlia about her work in sport and how can Portmore work better for Jamaica. Until then… #OneLove
Posted in Athletes, Coaching, Sport, Uncategorized

Coaching in 2016 and beyond

May 29 – Elite athletes should have access to the best technical expertise available.  

“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.”

Coaching1

One of the missions of any sporting organisation must be to prepare its coaches to be the best. And while it is doing that ensure that the sport also has access to its best athletes. That relationship, if well organised is the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship for the specific sport to maximise its economic activity.

The history of coaching does not meet the traditional skill set where the roles of purpose, knowledge base, organisation and ethics are clearly outlined; however, over the last two decades there has been an increase in who we classify as “elite coaches” – those who are considered as being the best; transforms the best and gets the best out of any category of athlete.

Sport more than ever now plays a significant role in income generation and a well-coached   fully focused winning team provide entertainment to spectators, communities, sponsors, athletes, coaches and administrators.

Coaching has therefore moved from the largely volunteer role it had been to the more sophisticated and competitive profession where institutions and organisations go after the “best” coaches for a multiplicity of reasons.

Coaching2

The National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL) and the English Premier League (EPL) are three organisations which move around coaches based on a projected number of wins within a season or a contract term. These organisations essentially work with the saying “you are as good as your last win.”

I reflect on the roles of Don Nelson and Phil Jackson two NBA coaches were both successful as players and coaches. Both have philosophies they have used to their advantage. Nelson masterminded the concept of a power forward, while Jackson perfected the triangle offense; but also his use of Zen techniques to assemble some of USA’s best basketballers while getting them to win. I look at football in the EPL and Alex Ferguson’s record speaks for itself.

Today, an elite coach is not who is simply technically strong, but instead one who designs and uses philosophies to achieve the ultimate gain of converting his/her team to win over a sustained period.

The training of coaches is available at several levels

  • Teacher-training institutions
  • Sport Colleges and Universities
  • Olympic Federations through the IOC’s programmes
    • Other sporting Federations have accredited levels of courses which are applicable for its different categories of athletes
  • Other supplementary short courses are available on several platforms

Standards have been and continue to be set and more and more sporting franchises and organisations go after the most qualified. The coaching situation has evolved.

The profession, coaching, has to first of all look at reinforcing education, deployment of those resources while regulating rules to engage the wide variety of skills on offer, but the ultimate is to get a winning formula of winning team and coach.

Coaching along age-group teams moves from getting players/athletes to enjoy their game (children) and to compete fiercely for titles and in recent years attract a substantial salary package. Sport also influences social and cultural boundaries and the value of those factors, while immeasurable, have an important place in the sporting model of any organisation.

The European Coaching Council in 2007 proposed a paper which suggested that coaching roles and qualifications be separated, but cited the need to map what is considered competencies for specific coaching roles. The coaching role is defined whether you are one of the following:

  • Apprentice coach
  • Coach
  • Senior Coach
  • Master Coach

Some regions including USA, Europe, Australia have established professional associations for coaching ensuring the profession is fiercely protected and where only members of the profession can practice. Some sporting federations have a similar model where coaches have to achieve a certain level of qualification and accreditation to coach at a particular level.

In the coaching environment these days there is a variety of qualifications, accreditation and opportunities for coaches at every level to gain the requisite training and exposure to make it to the top. These days you are either a pre-coach, volunteer coach or a professional coach. Coaching like so many other professions, have become competitive and attracts good pay packages. It is therefore important that organisations prepare its technical teams to get the best out of its athletes/players.

Posted in Uncategorized

CHAMPS 2016 AND TICKETS

March 1 – No where in the world, two weeks before a marquee event, patrons are not aware of how to get tickets.
Live sporting events are still pretty much a part of the Jamaican culture and since 1999 when CHAMPS combined the male and female categories, the event has received tremendous support. This is by observation only, as in this case, a patron myself, I have been part of a packed venue the last three days of CHAMPS for all those years.
National Stadium
This begs a question…has the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) ever disclosed how many tickets it has sold from year to year? And if so, have they even tried to figure a way to make patrons feel some ease in knowing they have access to one of the most sought-after tickets for any event in Jamaica. You see ISSA, we are in the 21st century where more of us have way more information we need to and we actually can make better decisions. While it is impossible to fit all the patrons who want to see CHAMPS in the 35,000 seated facility, ISSA must and should be made to handle its ticketing portfolio in a more efficient way.
It becomes difficult to replace the feeling when you are in a stadium, close to the finish line and watch your favourite junior athlete chase another across the line in any race; or see the 6’5” male athlete leap with pride over that high jump bar; or that long-legged young lady from your rural hometown stride down the long jump area to a record. It is all about passion. Increasing the price of the tickets without offering better service is totally unacceptable.
IMG_20131116_164028
ISSA is largely run by principals and as a teacher myself, I know the limitations I had before I up-skilled myself to understand marketing, promotion and publicity. I would suggest that some of my colleagues have not done that, cause if they did, I would not be writing this note on behalf of so many disgruntled, long-time patrons of CHAMPS.
What happens when an administration doesn’t listen to the voice of the people? Oh well…We move on. As usual, when I point out an issue, I offer a solution. Here are some suggestions for ISSA.
1. Employ a marketing expert with a team
2. Use technology to ease the issue of ticketing
a. Have Prime Tickets within a time frame
b. Offer secondary ticketing through a company that understands consumers – StubHub can offer solutions
3. Know who your purchasers are
a. Age
b. Male/Female
c. When do they buy tickets?
4. Work with the Independence Park Limited and see how capacity can be increased (secure it)
5. Have satellite venues and charge for that service. Use similar categories but maybe 15 per cent less than the live venue costs
6. Have ticket venues in all counties and in strategic locations
7. Be open to suggestions
8. Create a better experience for your fans
9. Train the announcers too
We are the fans, listen to us!
Posted in Uncategorized

WI Team Up

WICB embracing change

May 2015 – Team Building for elite sports teams have become a new way to embrace some of the demands being placed on competition and the need for consistent performance. Seasons are getting longer, athletes are playing more tournaments and consumers are demanding more. What then are teams to do?

Different teams take different approaches. The aim of any good coach these days is to get his/her team to perform to its maximum using effective communication skills on and off the field of play. More and more elite athletes are being engaged in specific activities aimed at

  • improving self esteem
  • building confidence
  • preparation for leadership
  • greater focus on teamwork and respect
  • reaching for excellence

What this kind of exercise does is help the team including management create a high performance team. One should understand that teams which engage in these types of activities are gearing towards the ‘competitive edge’ which usually is what creates the winning formula.

Team-Building

By definition, Team Building is a group problem-solving task that entails the structuring of interactions so that each person in the group can learn to depend on each other and to be accountable to each other. Other issues that come into play are Team cohesion, a dynamic process that is reflected in the tendency of a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of its objectives and/or for the satisfaction of member effective needs. A cohesive group is able to remain united in the pursuit of its goals or objectives. It is a leader’s job to get to know his or her athletes off the field.

team building

There is nothing easy about trying to achieve togetherness in an elite sports team. Today’s sports world is defined by salaries, egos, and turnover. Regardless, the best teams are usually the most cohesive units. Outside of talent, there is a reason why the former Chicago Bulls’ coach, Phil Jackson’s teams always wins. Jackson incorporated different exercises to promote cohesion.

Great coaches allow his/her team to play through difficult stretches. Great coaches also find roles for players based on strengths. Each player has a particular strength. It however makes sense for as many players as possible to work as a team all aimed at a common cause. Winning at that point becomes more enjoyable.

WICB sees merit in the approach

Just under two years ago, the West Indies Cricket Board hosted an elite team tour in Florida (October 2013) where Barney Jones, president of the Central Florida Cricket Association said “those sessions will not only bring a talented team together, but will serve as a catalyst for the sport.” The team while on tour at the time stopped in Orlando, Miami and sections of Broward County.

The team management has post tour discussions and that contributes to the efforts of the team to gather information necessary for growth and development. More recently (May 2015), right after the England series, the Board engaged a more comprehensive approach to include the operations team, management, territorial boards and the board of directors to sit along with players under the WI Team Up programme hosted by Marguerite Orane and her team – who are determined to help leaders of growing businesses bring joy into their workplace so that customers are delighted and their team is happy and productive! 

Orane drew her conclusions and this is an excerpt from her report – The WI TEAM UP event was very well received.  Given the long history of blame, recrimination and poor relationships, particularly between the WICB and the players, we were thrilled to note the level of participation, discussion and camaraderie amongst the group.  This augurs well to move forward to create more harmonious relationships.

President, Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron, in his opening remarks quoted Abraham Lincoln – “A house divided against itself cannot stand. This process, we hope is the beginning of the household of WI cricket standing together to achieve the shared goal of being #1.”

dave-cameron-wicb

Orane is one section of her report put forward these points:

  • We were particularly pleased to see:
  • How quickly the participants engaged in the activities with full attention;
  • Representatives from all the groups readily volunteering to make presentations;
  • The alignment of vision – ALL individuals present want WI cricket to be Number One!
  • The level of understanding and appreciation for each other with participants seeing the part that each group must play in creating the desired future for WI cricket.

She closed with the suggestion that “this is a golden moment on which to build a vibrant, sustainable and exciting future for WI Cricket.” Whether it’s One Team, One Goal or WI Team Up – West Indies cricket is adjusting.

Posted in Uncategorized

Student-Athletes Transfer Dilemma? Or Not?

WRITTEN BACK IN NOVEMBER 2012 – As the debate rages on regarding the transfer of athletes in the high schools system for the sake of playing for a coach/team/school there are a number of issues which must be addressed.

  • The transfer story is old – dating back to at least four decades
  • It is not exclusive to Jamaica
  • Parents are as much a part of the problem as is the recruiters
  • The regulatory/monitoring bodies MUST be strengthened to ensure the goals of the education industry are met

The dynamics of education are changing, strange but true…no longer are children being ‘forced’ to pursue the traditional career paths, but instead go after lucrative career areas, much of which include study in the non-traditional areas, some of which are frowned upon. While the split in where the choices should go, continue, the system is moving ahead and as a result policy leaders should be aware of what these changes are and create an environment for as much of us to exist as possible. I will cite examples from the states of Georgia, Florida and California where a lot of these problems exist. They have the equivalent of what is in Jamaica – the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) and they are in charge of monitoring what happens in the schools. They monitor * students requests for transfer * schools from where the transfer is being sought * schools to which the transfer is required * grades of the students * general school records which may reveal behaviour * ability of parents to afford where applicable, or accommodate, sometimes in the case of relocation I am of the firm belief that parents have a responsibility to the children and should not be forced to move their children from school to school while accepting gifts. In deciding to move a child, careful consideration should be given whether the move is an advantage to the child in the pursuit of higher education.

IMG_20131116_164028

By the way, higher education in this instance can also relate to going after dreams of being an athlete, famous dancer, soulful singer etc. If the school the child wishes to go to offers the best environment for the student to learn, then move. The move is to be done within the rules of the system. The state of Georgia got 6,000 such requests in the 2010 – 2011 season and 76 per cent of that list was granted. The regulatory team keeps watch. In Florida, the Florida High School Athletics Association is the body which monitors the requests. So too is the Southern Commission in California. I say we boost the human resources of ISSA to help them with the work they have already started to ensure that the moves are above board and there is very little, if any, inappropriate behaviour by schools and/or coaches. Having identified that there is an issue, I say we move to resolve the issue soon and let’s look at the 2013 to 2014 season how we can enforce the rules established by ISSA. The history of dialogue and setting up of teams in Jamaica (Task Forces) to look at issues doesn’t have resolutions coming too quickly, but if we can ‘stamp out’ some of the known areas of activity where the transfers are blatant, then we would have been a few steps ahead. Parents have the responsibility to offer their children the best option, but not for a fridge, stove, car or money.

DSC_0431

Posted in Uncategorized

WICB made notable achievements in spite of …

KINGSTON, January 27 – Whycliffe ‘Dave” Cameron became president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) March 27, 2013. He and his team in spite of harsh economic times have delivered on a few things outlined below. There was an obvious spoke in the regional cricket body’s wheel with the tour of India (October 2014) being cut short, but some bold and innovative steps were taken.

A statement from the President on Monday stated – “Resolving the issues currently facing West Indies cricket are of paramount importance. The WICB is therefore acknowledging the process based on its constitutional rules to end the impasse between the itself and the BCCI. Following the incident, we sought advice from several levels including Prime Ministers, CARICOM and a Task Force Team at which we acted to reach a consensus. The discussions and negotiations continue and we are mindful of the impact on the cricket in the West Indies. As President, I take full responsibility, however, I am part of a team and we are working assiduously to make those adjustments in the best interest of the game. We ask for patience from the people of the Caribbean and to all our fans worldwide.”

Here are some of the achievements the team lead by Cameron has made:

  • Re-signing agreement with ESPN for the NAGICO Super 50
    • More cricket on television in the region
  • PCL 4-day competition
    • 105 athletes who are being paid directly as a result of that reform
    • A few athletes who are on pay-per-play which widens the pool
    • More cricket – giving opportunities to more players – expanded 4 day PCL
  • WIPA/WICB Alignment
    • 2 years of the WICB/WIPA  Awards
    • Best relationship in the last decade
    • No legal issues
  • Deficit reduced
  • Establishment of the West Indies Retired Players Foundation with launches in at least three countries along with a few programmes to recognise the former players and look after their well-being
    • A fund raising Golf event due soon (WIRPF)
  • CPL negotiation which has helped the current competitions being held – more money for our players
  • WICB/UTech Coaches’ Courses and in other tertiary institutions across the region
  • Umpires back on the international panel
  • Exposure to the Balanced Scorecard method of measuring KPIs incorporating all Territorial Boards and Board Members
  • Elite Team Tour – business, psychological, cultural adjustment for management and players – first ever done.
  • WICB’s valued input in the prospects for the Future Tours programme offering countries in the top eight to have more games amongst themselves
  • Appointed on the ICC Executive, Development and Nominations Committee
  • Relationship with Digicel and Scotiabank are in tact
  • Awarded ICC events
    • Annual Conference in June 2015 in Barbados
    • Women’s World Cup Tournament  for 2018
    • Under 19 World Cup 2022
  • New ICC Womens’ Championship League – providing for more opportunities for female players
  • The inclusion of our legends of West Indies Cricket in our setup – from the selectors to the dressing room.
  • Winning series against Bangladesh in the Caribbean, leveling ODI series in New Zealand, winning T20 in South Africa.  Ireland Tour 2013
  • Approved the inclusion of a Team Physiotherapist for each Franchise

The election exercise is due for March 2015 and is scheduled for Jamaica.