Have you noticed that your child has a huge potential in sports? Perhaps you want your child to have the opportunity to develop their skills in sports, without neglecting academics? Then Sekolah Sukan Menengah (SSM) could be the right environment!
However, it’s wise to understand SSM first, as this will help you to plan ahead! Let us guide you through everything you need to know about studying at SSM.
Sekolah Sukan Menengah (SSM) is a sports secondary school designed to build student-athletes talent in sports, without neglecting academics. Just like the other secondary schools in Malaysia, SSM students study the same subject, inclusive of optional elective streams, and will take Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) test at Form-5. The difference is SSM schools are scheduled to include more hours of sports training and have different benefits.
Benefits of SSM.
First of all, subsidized tournaments are the biggest advantage. The government will subsidize all your national and international tournaments under your “sports scholarship”. Sometimes you will get a full scholarship if you are a top performer! However, this comes under the condition that SSM student-athletes must take part in national and international competitions with no exception! Especially those who came into the school strictly under “sports scholarship”. There are lots of offers and grants if you are a top performer in your field so you can take your pick. Besides that, the trainer is subsidized by the school and you get to train under a highly specialized coach! This means that SSM student-athletes get to commit and develop the skill set of their chosen sport. Not to mention, SSM helps to build your background and credibility in the sports industry.
Challenges in SSM.
First of all, the expectation in sports performance and achievement is quite high and competitive. This may lead to pressure in students, which may be so pressured. This is due to the fact that these students could be under the influence of “sports scholarship”. Hence it’s no surprise that these students usually had an expectation placed on their heads to be good at their sports. Because otherwise, if you fail to perform well at sports you can be suspended or potentially lose your scholarship. After all, the academic requirement of SSM is pretty low (3C’s for UPSR, or pass all Malaysia mandatory subjects for Form 1 to 5).
Second, getting a placement in SSM is really competitive. The requirements for entry into SSM are based on the number of your participation in national and international tournaments or your highest achievement. For example, an international level tournament silver medal is considered higher (or more attractive) than a national level tournament gold medal. Students will be prioritized to enter the school if they have higher achievements or are active. Hence, it is very competitive to fight for your placement into SSM.
Lastly, not everyone can succeed in SSM, as it is a very competitive industry. It all comes down to the fact that you need to be the best among your peers.
What about academics?
Some people may wonder if the students’ academics are neglected? This is because, in SSM, there are many national and international tournaments that must be participated in. Estimated, at least a few times a year! In addition, SSM has extra hours of sports training in the afternoons. With that being said, some people may wonder if SSM athlete-students are able to focus academically. The reality is, this type of school is scheduled to focus on both academics and sports. Therefore, the student’s academics are never prioritized less than sports! It just depends on the individual’s ability to manage time. Just like all the other normal schools with extra-curricular, only that SSM has extra hours in sports per week and it is a boarding school. So, no, the academics are not neglected!
Developing career opportunities in SSM.
Currently, in Malaysia Form 6 is the highest technical sports education you can find. There are only five pre-university schools that provide this level of education. They are at Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Johor, Terengganu and Pahang.
You can find out the information on the five higher sports education in Malaysia, and what sports they offer here:
The rest of the SSM stops once you graduate from SPM, with a few offering a Form-6. Also, right now under the MOE, there is only one SSM for each state of Malaysia, totaling 15. However, you can still further your sports interest or career if you are willing to get your own personal coach or trainer and participate in tournaments. But just don’t expect that SSM will build a bright future for you.
Tips to join SSM
First, you need to identify a sports club of your interest. Next, you need to make sure the sports club has a credible coach, or you can find your own personal coach. However, note that getting a personal coach will cost more than joining a sports club. Also, your coach should come from another SSM or has a credible background. This is very important because your coach will be able to sign your placement into the SSM! So, make sure you ask your trainer! Then, you must take part in national and international level tournaments to gain experience and build your credibility. Lastly, you can try to apply for your placement into SSM.
You can check which SSM is in your state here:
All in all, SSM can help to propel your credibility and background in the sports industry. However, joining SSM is not the only option, and hoping that SSM (or any school in general) will build a bright future for you is a false hope. In short, you can always work your way around if you do not want to join SSM. It is just that SSM provides benefits.