Singapore has named the National 21 & Under Team for the Netball World Youth Cup which will take place in Gabarone, Botswana from July 8-16. It has been a busy year for the team. Other than their victorious Asian Youth Netball Championships win in May, the 21s has been playing extensively together in Perth for a training tour and taking part in the M1 Netball Super League as M1 Sunfish. We (NS) speak to Head Coach, Huang Po Chin (PC), to find out her goals and aspiration for the team.
NS: Tell us how it feels to bring home the Asian Youth Championships trophy?
PC: We felt a great sense of satisfaction and were simply happy to have done Singapore proud.
NS: During the Asian Youth finals, how did you motivate your players despite a loss to Malaysia during the round games?
PC: The team was actually very motivated and positive despite the narrow loss to Malaysia. This made things easier for me as a coach by simply reminding them of their strong belief and assuring them of their abilities and how much more they have in them to offer.
NS: You have been the 21s Assistant Coach for several years and just taken over the team as Head Coach, what are your goals and expectations for the team?
PC: My key goal is to enhance individual player’s repertoire and hopefully they can be the right fit for the Opens Squad in future.
I strongly believe in displaying high work ethics and commitment as a National athlete. They also need to take ownership and accountability in playing their role in a team environment.
NS: How was the selections for the Netball World Youth Cup? Is there any difficult decision to any of the areas (shooting/mid court/defence)?
PC: The selections went well without much deliberation amongst the selectors.
NS: Are there any players that we should look out during the tournament?
PC: I am actually more interested to see how the team connects with one another to compete in NWYC as I reckon this will be the key for us to perform at the world stage as we have no player with prior experience in playing NWYC and a handful are still eligible for the AYNC 2019 qualifier. Riding on the team’s recent success, I am also keen to see individual players peaking and whether the team can make another breakthrough in this competition.
NS: With just one month to go, how is the preparation for the team going? What is your target for the 21s for the Netball World Youth Cup?
PC: We are monitoring the team’s training load very closely and with the support from the National Youth Sports Institute, we are able to gain a more in-depth understanding of their wellness and fatigue levels. This has been instrumental in ensuring that our training program sustains their bodies through these few weeks before NWYC. The team has been very focused and disciplined at training and hopefully they can maintain their performance at NWYC.
My target will be to support the team to achieve their team goal whilst staying injury-free and for them to compete at a world level with the right mindset and attitude.
NS: How important has netball been in your life and what life skills has it taught you?
PC: Netball has been a very important part in my life and is simply my passion. It has taught me how to manage people and time; make decisions at critical moments; cope with challenges and be accountable as a person.
NS: What goals do you have in your netball career that you still hope to achieve?
PC: I hope to challenge myself by moving out of my comfort zone to take my coaching to the next level. I think an overseas stint at some point in time would help to grow my coaching experience.
NS: What's your biggest achievement to date? (in sport, career, and life in general)
PC: I can’t name one precisely but winning the AYNC championship this year is definitely a memorable milestone and being able to coach alongside world class coaches is another. I think it is also an achievement to have inspired long-lasting passion in players and to witness how much a player has grown to become a better player and person.
NS: Who were your own role models growing up?
PC: I don’t have a specific person in mind but I am blessed to have met certain people along the way who have challenged and influenced me positively. They have given me a different perspective in life and these personal encounters have played a big part in shaping me into the person I am today.
NS: What's your motto in life?
PC: “Be true to yourself and stick to your beliefs”