It’s 50 days (18 May) to the Netball World Youth Cup! Joan Yani, Nigel Lim and Yu Bee Ling have been invited to officiate the youth tournament in Gabarone, Botswana from 8th to 16th July.
How does it feel officiating the NWYC now as compared to the last World Youth at Scotland now that you are an IUA?
Yani: Feels exactly how I felt when I first got the invite. Nervous, excited and with extreme trepidation. Being an IUA hasn't changed anything, I think it just comes with more expectations, but I think we're handling these bags of emotions a lot better now.
Bee: Probably more pressurising because the last WYNC (Glasglow) we went in with no experience and a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality. But this time round, we have had more experiences and higher badge level. This obviously mean higher expectations for ourselves and from others.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge?
Yani: Biggest challenge would be to remain as consistent and as calm as I can be. Especially in terms of teams that I have not seen or umpired before. Reading their bodies and understanding their styles of play quickly is essential to ensure I can make the decisions good and well.
Bee: The different style of play from the different teams and being able to adjust to them through the tournament. Unlike teams, we do not have “fixtures” to refer to so our preparation is quite different in the sense that we have to watch every team and know their style of play. In addition, being able to manage the game well from the start to finish.
Nigel: The biggest challenge for me would be to adapt to the environment when I am there as I need time to familiarised myself to the surroundings and particularly my diet.
How is the preparation coming along? How hard do you need to train?
Yani: Preparations are coming along well. The competition is coming really soon, so I have to strike a balance of how heavy I would want to go and whether I should concentrate on my intervals. I think for me personally is how much I need to plan and ensuring that these plans include recovery.
Bee: I have started twice a week session, 1 cardio and 1 strengthening. In June, the training will be extended to thrice a week. Locally, we do not have many high level games to umpire, so it is upon us to keep up with our strength and conditioning work to be in the best possible condition when we are at tournaments.
Nigel: I have been going for regular runs and swim to improve my cardiovascular fitness as well as strengthening my lower body so that my legs can 'tahan' throughout the championships.
What are you looking forward the most and what do you think you can learn from the other umpires?
Yani: I'm looking forward to the games definitely. Being on court to take my first game, that's going to be exciting.
We can definitely learn a lot from each other. it doesn't have to be about umpiring but learning from each other’s' netball culture and finding out how the sport is doing well over there is a big plus for us.
Bee: That will be to meet the umpires and umpire coaches/panels. We do have different ways and styles, so it is always insightful to hear and learn how they deal with different situations on and off court.
Nigel: Definitely looking forward to learn from the other umpire and coaches. Every competition is different and I will always learn something new. Also meeting new friends around the world.
What are you hoping to achieve from NWYC?
Yani: I’m hoping to achieve some umpiring breakthroughs. Maybe learn more about my umpiring by interacting with the different game plays, come out stronger and more confident. Simply put, I’m hoping not to think too much and just go with the flow.
Bee: Besides going into NWYC as an IUA this time round, I think my mentality is pretty much the same. I would like to gain as much experience as I can from the games I will be umpiring as every game is different and a challenge on its own, and will definitely want to add it into my bag of skills.
It will also be great if I could bring these skills and experiences back to contribute to the local umpiring scene, be it umpiring or mentoring the younger ones through their umpiring journey.
Nigel: I am hoping to grow stronger in my umpiring techniques so that I can share my experience and knowledge with the younger umpires back at home
What are you looking forward to do in Botswana during your off day?
Yani: I haven't thought about day offs yet! It'd be nice if we can partake in their culture, it'd be awesome to see their wildlife. The Singaporean in me wants to know more about local food.
Bee: Have not really thought about it yet. Well, Botswana is in South Africa, so a visit to the Game Reserve will be interesting.
Nigel: Is there even a day off? If there is, then it should be touring the city to look for a beach, sitting by the sea and listening and watching K-pop music videos so that I can teach Bee and Yani how to dance
What's on your bucket list in terms of Umpiring achievements/assignments?
Yani: Tough one! My bucket list would maybe umpire a sold out local game at the OCBC Arena, filled with netball fans of all ages! It's mean a total accomplishment in the local netball scene and I'd love to be given an opportunity to umpire such a game
Bee: Of course, it would have to be an appointment for the World Netball Championship and/or Commonwealth Games. (Probably every IUA’s dream)
Nigel: Hmm... The World Netball Championships!