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Creating A Knowledge-Based Athlete
With many parts of the world coming to a standstill because of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) pandemic, many have taken the opportunity to upgrade and learn a new skill. Likewise for student-athletes from Singapore Sports School’s Fencing and Shooting Academies.
In March 2020, fencers from Sports School’s post-secondary polytechnic programmes embarked on their path to coaching certification. Beginning with the Standard First Aid course, including lessons on Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and usage of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED), student-athletes also participated in the Values and Principles in Sports (VPS) workshop. Both courses are mandatory requirements for their registration as coaches with the National Registry of Coaches (NROC). Undergoing the two courses grants them provisional membership, while full membership status is attained only after fulfilling several other certifications and requirements.
This initiative of upskilling student-athletes was implemented in view of the Academy’s peer mentorship model in training. Post-secondary fencers give one-on-one lessons to their juniors at the start of their afternoon training, before joining in training themselves.
It has only been a few months since Max Neo Wei Kit has stepped up to the piste to coach his juniors, yet the Diploma in Business (DBIZ) Year 1 student-athlete has already discovered how rewarding teaching others can be. “There is that sense of accomplishment that you taught them something when they actually execute the technique in an actual fencing match,” said Max.
However, this confidence did not come to the foilist naturally.
“Honestly, when I was told to coach my juniors, I thought: ‘What can I really teach them?’ But over time, working with each of them and with my coach’s guidance, I became more confident in coaching.
“It’s true when they say that you learn by teaching others. Having coached for a few months now, I am now more aware of the common mistakes my juniors and I make, how to correctly perform the movements, and when to execute them during matches.”
In addition to in-training coaching, student-athletes have also equipped themselves with other fencing-related skills and knowledge such as refereeing. For Tee Zong Ren, it has helped him gain a better understanding of the sport. Knowing what referees are looking out for, why certain calls are made, has helped him as a fencer on the piste. With that knowledge, he is able to make a conscious effort to avoid making mistakes that will incur penalties. Since getting his referee licence three years ago, the Diploma in Business Studies (DBS) Year 2 student-athlete has refereed in competitions more than his fingers can count.
“With the seniors taking on coaching and officiating roles, my wish is that the Fencing Academy can improve together and raise the fencing standard in the Academy, and ultimately the country. When one of us improves, others will be motivated to step up and do better.”
Shooting Academy student-athletes also had the opportunity to obtain their first aid certification after a two-day course on 18 and 19 March 2020. They learnt simple first aid skills such as how to manage heat illnesses, choking emergencies, conduct CPR and use the AED, as well as bandaging for various types of injuries. In addition, they were also taught how to react when they encounter someone experiencing seizures, asthma attacks, allergies or burns.
“In an environment like ours where intense sport activity happens every day, injuries – minor or major – are commonplace. As athletes, being equipped with basic first aid knowledge enables us to assist our friends – or even ourselves – in administering correct treatments in a timely manner, so as to prevent injuries from worsening,” said Chin Khar Ann from IBDP Year 5.