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Singapore Youth Netballers Won Asian Gold After 23 Years with NYSI Support

singapore 21 and under netball team 750.png
The Singapore 21 and Under team with their Asian Youth Netball Championship Trophy.

After a wait of 23 years, Singapore once again lifted the trophy at the 2017 Asian Youth Netball Championship with a 47-43 victory over arch-rivals Malaysia in the final.

Singapore last won the title in 1994 and followed that up by finishing second in the 1998 edition. However, there were no other successes to speak of until 2017. In the lead up to the 10-team Championship, NYSI Netball Head Coach Joanne Loo assisted the 21s coach while NYSI Sport Science supported the Singapore 21-and-Under netballers with Performance Analysis, Psychology, Nutrition, and Physiology.

“The NYSI Sport Science support was crucial in helping (21s Coach) Huang Po Chin and I prepare the team for the Championship,” said Joanne. “For example, the fact that we did not lose any players to serious injuries like ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tears is down to the fact that (NYSI Physiologist) Marcus Lee was monitoring the training load of each player closely to avoid overtraining. (NYSI Performance Analyst) Adilah’s support in the final against Malaysia was especially crucial as her work helped us secure the title.” 

NYSI Sport Psychologist Jeevita Sajeev Pillai worked on the team’s mental skills. She created individual psychological profiles based on questionnaires the athletes filled out and the coaches then reviewed the profiles to see who required extra support. 

Jeevita taught them how to use their breathing to anchor themselves when they experienced an emotional storm and helped the players set up their pre-competition routines. 

“One of the athletes was advised to have a pre-competition routine when she was on a netball trip to Perth and she found that it worked for her,” said Jeevita. “Her experience was later shared with the rest of the team in a follow-up session and each one of them came up with their own pre-competition routine.”

Marcus Lee Asian Youth Netball.jpgNYSI Physiologist Marcus Lee tracked each netballer's training load in the lead up to the Championship.

NYSI Sport Physiologist Marcus Lee also supported the coaches by monitoring the training load of each player prior to the Championship.

“We had the players rate how hard they found each training session from a scale of 0-10. These scores were then tabulated to give an overall view of each player’s training load throughout the week,” said Marcus.

Ng Ee Ling Asian Youth Netball.jpgNYSI Dietitian Ng Ee Ling conducting a workshop for the netballers.

NYSI also looked at the nutrition needs of the youth athletes in the lead up.

NYSI Sport Dietitian Ng Ee Ling held a workshop to teach the netballers nutrient timing, how to identify the nutritional properties of different food items, snack ideas, and the importance of hydration.

“They had the opportunity to learn some basic cooking skills while preparing their own lunches. This also provided a good bonding opportunity for the girls and coaches. It was beneficial for the girls as proper nutrition aids in their recovery after matches,” said Ee Ling.

adilah-pa-netball.jpgAdilah, NYSI Performance Analyst, recording a game at the Asian Youth Netball Championship.

During the Championship in Jeonju, South Korea, NYSI Performance Analyst Nur Adilah binte Masismadi spent many hours analyzing video footage of netball matches. Seated at a higher ground to record matches, she used the Dartfish App to code center-passes, turnovers, feeds and shots as they occurred during the game.

“My role was to analyse the Singapore and the opposition teams’ matches,” said Adilah.

The end of a match still meant more work for Adilah. From syncing the video recording to the tags and looking at specific plays, Adilah picked out clips to identify the opponents’ preferred patterns of play.

The coaches and players would then strategise and come up with a game-plan using these clips as visual aids. At times, the coaches also used clips from earlier matches to highlight areas for improvement or to acknowledge a player’s good performance.