4th Junior Development Camp for youth swimmers
Mohammad Ismail, NYSI Athlete Life Manager, speaking to camp participants on 3 June 2019.
As part of the 4th Junior Development Camp 2019 for swimmers 13 to 16 years old, the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) organised a series of workshops in collaboration with the Singapore Sport Institute (SSI). This camp was for the top 10 male and female youth swimmers. Their top-10 rankings were based on the average score of their best 3 performances at Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Swimming Championships 2019.
The camp kicked off on 3 June 2019 and swimmers who normally train at their respective clubs congregated at the OCBC Aquatic Centre for training with Gary Tan (National Training Centre (NTC) Head Coach), Marcus Cheah (NTC Assistant Coach) and Leonard Tan (NYSI Head Coach). Following this was a workshop by the Athlete Life team from NYSI and SSI. The swimmers were taught the Goal-Reality-Options-Way (GROW) model and some time management toolkits. Experiential sessions also allowed the swimmers to understand their own learning styles.
Senior national swimmer Nur Marina Chan, who is currently in NUS, also shared her experience in balancing her studies and trainings. “You have to make a continuous effort in revising so that at the end, you’re not overwhelmed by the things you don’t know. These are unnecessary sources of stress that can be avoided if you plan ahead,” advised Marina.
Beena Doshi, SSI Assistant Director (spexEducation), also suggested that the student-athletes make use of the facilities at NYSI and SSI for studying so that they can make full use of their time between school and training.
“Once you have a routine, you can find time to do what you want to do. All of us at NYSI and SSI are here to help you,” encouraged Beena.
On 6 June 2019, the NYSI and SSI Nutrition teams held a cooking session with the swimmers at the SSI Nutrition Lab to introduce some fuss-free ways to prepare their meals.
Ng Ee Ling, NYSI Dietitian, emphasised the importance of ‘Eat Accordingly’ during the cook-out session. “Eating according to the amount of energy you are using in your training is important,” explained Ee Ling.
The next day, Ee Ling held another session for the swimmers to recap the recommended nutritional and hydration practices.
“The workshops are meant to give athletes strategies to better prepare for their trainings and competitions,” said Ee Ling.
The swimmers also attended a physiology talk by Dr. Haresh Suppiah, NYSI Senior Sport Physiologist, and Joel Pang, SSI Associate Sport Physiologist. Dr. Suppiah explained the importance of recovery for athletes, the effects of insufficient sleep, and the benefits of sleep on sporting performance.
Dr. Suppiah also gave tips on how to improve the quality of sleep. “Altering electronic device usage before bed-time and taking a warm shower an hour before bed-time help facilitate sleep onset,” explained Dr. Suppiah.
Participants of the camp reflected on their experience of the 5-day camp.
Terence Ong mentioned the athlete life workshop as his biggest takeaway from this camp. “I was reminded that as a swimmer and student, I need to plan my time properly. Having time to destress is also crucial in influencing my performance in both studies and swimming,” said Terence.
Bonnie Yeo also explained what she learnt from the workshops. “We were told to find the mind-set that fits us the most to optimise our performance level. I think it was important that we were taught the difference between adrenaline and nerves. We cannot have too much stress, but it’s also not good to have too much stress,” reflected Bonnie.
The swimmers also said that they gained a lot from video analysis sessions with the NYSI and SSI performance analysts as they learnt to analyse their swimming techniques, especially the starts and turns.
On the last day of the camp on 8 June, all the swimmers gave the ‘thumbs-up’ for the camp and agreed in unison that they enjoyed all aspects of the camp, especially the cooking sessions, as they were able to cook in a safe environment without burning down the house!
Marina Chan sharing her experience with the student-athletes at the Athlete Life Management workshop.
Participants of the cook-off session presenting their dish to the panel of judges.
Ng Ee Ling, NYSI Dietitian, conducting the nutrition session on post-training snacks.
Dr. Haresh T Suppiah, NYSI Senior Sport Physiologist, introducing the importance of sleep to the athletes on Day 4 of the camp.