Recently I met up with an old friend who was a National Junior in squash and he said that the problem we have is that we lack confidence in international competition. When I spoke to Marina she told me that her brother Mokhzani said that Nichol David is an anomaly. He is also wondering how to repeat that formula to create another Champion.
I have said that if we nurture their fighting spirit, the technical will come eventually. Destroy that and no amount of technical will bring them to the top. That is the crux. Chess is a mind sport.
So how do we build self esteem, confidence? I say by fair handed guidance, by giving them the same tools as their competitors, by giving them the right training, by building the right support system of sponsors, managers, trainers and coaches; by allowing their minds to remain inquisitive and allowing them to explore new ideas etc.
And how do we tear them down? By giving them the short cuts, by telling them they have assured places, by attacking them and saying wait your turn or you will make enemies. By trying to ban them because they don't come from your chess school etc.
I have also said that there is enough pressure in competitive chess. By pilling on more attacks and fears you are in fact tearing them down. What we need to do is to teach them how to handle that pressure. How to confront their imagined fears.
By telling them they are all washed up by 15yo if they are not GM, you are tearing them down.
The way forward is to improve the skills of the trainers and coaches. To order errant organisers and to make the slanderers accountable. Then we will have the fuel for this journey. Sponsors and new ideas.