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National Age Groups Camp 2016

The annual combined National Age Groups camp was held at Singapore Sports School on 4 June 2016. This year, with the support of the newly established National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI), Netball Singapore aimed to provide national youth athletes with the skills and knowledge required for their personal development towards being a national athlete. Local coaches were also invited to have a peek at the national programme, sharing with them the value of sports science support in youth athletes’ development.

The camp started off on the right foot through activities organized by U14 Head Coach Lin Shuangru and U17 Head Coach Saadiah Khamis. The fun ice-breakers created a lively start to the morning’s activities.

The day continued with two concurrent NYSI programmes– the Nutrition session was conducted by NYSI nutritionists, Belinda Leow and Ng Ee Ling; and the Psychology session, by NYSI psychologists, Harry Lim and Jeevita Sajeev. The sessions centered on the pre-competition and competition phases – to assist athletes to make good dietary choices and to enhance their mental skills for optimal performance.

The athletes were introduced to “Nutrients Timing” where they planned their daily food intake strategically so as to exhibit their best performance at training and competition.

The session concluded at the Food Lab with athletes and coaches making their own recovery drinks in less than 5minutes!

“The National Age Group Camp was a fun and enriching experience. We got to learn about the important skills, such as the proper nutrition and the importance of taking care of ourselves, which certainly helps all of us gear ourselves for our future in netball. From learning to make our own isotonic drinks to our own strength and conditioning, the skills we learned are very useful and crucial for us as athletes. The camp was also an opportunity for us to strengthen our bond and chemistry as a team, enabling us to get to know one another better and spend our time with wonderful company, which will help us grow and develop both as a team and as individuals. The camp was more than worthwhile and was beneficial for all of us and I definitely do not have any regrets waking up early on a Saturday morning for it.” – Alena Ong, U17 co-captain.

The psychology session was conducted in two-tiers; The U19’s worked on self awareness and more in-depth understanding towards attaining optimal performance states more consistently while the U17’s went through basic mental skills that can help them form pre-performance routines to perform optimally.

“To me, it is important that we attend these professional sharing sessions with a growth mindset. While we may have already known some of the activities shared today, it acts as a good reminder; and for others which we are already doing, it reinforces our belief that we are doing the right things.”- Kok Mun Wai, CHIJ Toa Payoh school coach.

“I felt that the things we learnt from the different NYSI staff are really useful, and I really like how they are all willing to help us improve in our sport in any way possible, such as simple exercises to work out at home or even advice in terms of diet.”- Wah Tzy Hyi, U17 co-captain.

By mid-day, the most interesting segment to keep all athletes enthused over was the Meet-the-Netball-Idols session- Charmaine Soh and Aqilah Andin. Both National Open athletes shared on their struggles and how their passion for sport helped to overcome their toughest moments in their Netball journey.

“It’s the first time that I am involved with the NAG squad and the camp. Being able to attend this session with the players and other officials definitely given us chances to know each other better.The camp was really insightful and provided a lot of information for the athletes physically and psychologically. The presenters for each section had shown professionalism and imparted their knowledge to everyone of us. It was really a successful one.”- Kng Siew Peng, U19 Assistant Coach.

Fun games were also played where the athletes interacted with their Netball idols.

“The view from the top of the mountain is always more beautiful when one has to walk through the valleys to get there!”- Ruth Aitken, National Open Head Coach.

“Having the Open players and Ruth to come in for sharing not only inspired them but also added weight to the whole camp. I hope our youth athletes think like “wow”! The national players and coach cared about what we were doing!”- Jocelyn Tan, SRJC and Bowen Secondary school coach.

The last programme – instilling good habits amongst the athletes – were split into two concurrent sessions- Strength and Conditioning (S&C) was conducted by NYSI S&C coaches, Quintin Roman and Jason Gregory; and Injury Prevention programme, by NYSI Physiotherapist, Jolene Tan.

The Home Programme was introduced, where athletes can safely conduct their own strength work in their home environment.

Functional movements that are potentially injurious were highlighted during the Injury Prevention session.

The camp ended with the most vigorous activity- Fitness Testing! 
“I feel that it was very benificial to the players as it brings in so many sports science components. It helps to gives the players knowledge in dealing and managing many things that they will face in the future. I think it was very well planned as there were Nutrition, Phychology, Strength and conditioning, and also injury prevention physiotherapy in the timetable. With the players having better understanding, it will be easier as a coach to push and emphasise on them in the future. The fun games in the morning was good to get the girls warm up for the day. And the fitness testing adds in some excitement at the end. The whole camp was awesome. “-Tan Khiok Sing, U14 Assistant Coach

“Through the NAG camp, I’ve gotten to know players from my age group and other age groups. The injury prevention talk has let me gained knowledge on potential injuries in netball. The strength and conditioning session taught me a few exercises that i can do at home. Lastly, the fitness testing lets us know where our fitness ability is at. Overall it was a wonderful experience.” – Tan She Lay, U19 player

“The NAG camp was definitely an eye opener for the athletes. It gives them insight on the other aspects of being an athlete besides the game component. I think the most beneficial sessions were the mental skills, nutrition & injury prevention. These components are usually not covered in school trainings, and definitely helped the players to improve their game. The session also allowed us, the coaches & managers, to learn more about our athletes.”- Tan Wee Ling, U19 team manager 

“The camp brought me alot more new insights of netball, as well as healthy nutrition and exercises. I’ve got to know mroe about some of my teammates, and those in U17 and U19. It has motivated me to push even harder and do well in netball and anything in general.”- Kristen Kee, U14 player

“I believe this camp was beneficial for the girls since it exposed them to the different aspects of sports science, revolving around the context of netball, something the girls could relate to. It’s also a good platform whereby they could interact with senior players, seek advices and make new friends.”- Pun Jia Hua, U14 team manager

Netball Singapore would like to make some special acknowledgment – to Singapore Sports School for the venue and facilities, to the National Youth Sports Institute staff for delivering good practices to our youth athletes and National Age Group Team Officials for your enthusiastic involvement in this camp! All the best for a fantastic season!