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NYSI Partnership Boosts Sporting Excellence

Partnership with National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI)

The Sports School-National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) partnership began in 2015 when NYSI was a spin-off following the recommendations from the Sports School Review Committee to establish the school as the national sports academy of excellence. The following year in 2016, NYSI @ Sports School, the first physical NYSI centre located within the Sports School campus, was also set-up to provide better and more comprehensive support for our student-athletes, as well as high-performing youth athletes training in the Sports School. Since then, Sports School has been working closely with NYSI in areas cutting across various domains, specifically in three key areas of youth sport development – Athlete Life, Sport Science, Talent Identification and Development.

Athlete Life
Many budding athletes who came through the doors of the School have gone on to pursue sports at a higher level, and joined the national team to represent Singapore at Major Games. To ensure that our youth athletes enjoy a smooth transition into the national team, collaboration with NYSI, such as through the Youth to Senior (YST) programme, is key in helping our youth athletes to cope better as they are promoted from the intermediate squad into the national team. Under the programme, NYSI also trained the School’s General Managers via the train-the-trainer workshops so that they can conduct the YST workshops on their own. 

Besides that, both the NYSI Athlete Life team and Sports School recognise the challenges of our student-athletes who have to balance a dual career in sports and studies. Working towards the same goal of supporting our student-athletes in pursuing both sporting excellence and academic finesse, a joint webinar was conducted in June for youth athletes who wished to join the Sports School as midstreamers. During the webinar, they learnt more about the School, as well as how the School’s athlete-friendly academic programme can enable them to pursue their sporting dream at a higher level. The session, conducted in a sharing and Q&A format, has received positive responses as we saw the participation of over 40 parents and athletes at the virtual meeting.

Talent Identification and Development
Singapore Sports School, being a pipeline for athletes into the national team, identifies sporting talents through various channels, such as the pre-Sports School programme and the Junior Sports Academy (JSA) programme, where they will be invited to join the School at Secondary 1 for further development. In the area of talent identification, especially during the admission process, NYSI plays an important role in the admission interviews to help assess whether the child will be able to fit into the Sports School environment from a non-sports point of view – both emotionally and socially. 

Another collaboration on talent identification is the Talent Optimisation Programme (TOP). The pilot programme, organised collaboratively with NYSI and various National Sports Associations (NSAs), was launched on 11 November 2020 to provide student-athletes with the opportunity to gain exposure and try out new sports. The one-day try-out session saw the participation of 189 student-athletes exploring 6 different sports (Weightlifting, Wrestling, Petanque, Cycling, Canoeing/Kayaking, and Water Polo), with 13 student-athletes being identified on that day for further development under the programme. Currently, there are 22 student-athletes in the TOP programme. 

In addition, NYSI has also collaborated with Sports School and NSAs in developing the TID Toolkit, an instrument used to determine multidimensional performance characteristics to identify potential high-performance youth athletes.

Sports Science
A high-performance sports support system is crucial in raising the standard of our youth athletes, especially in the area of sports science support such as performance analysis, sport nutrition, physiology, sport psychology, strength and conditioning, and sport physiotherapy. To ensure that our student-athletes, and other youth athletes who train at the School, enjoy easy access to such sports science support, the NYSI @ Sports School was set up with functional considerations for sport science support like physiotherapy, performance laboratories (or performance labs) and rest and recovery areas. Covering an area of 500m2 within the School campus, the youthful and fun-looking hub contains a Physio Clinic (for injury rehabilitation and prevention), a Think Tank (for sport psychology and performance analysis), a Pit Stop (for rest and recovery, and team meetings or sharings) and a Performance Lab (for physiology and biomechanics research and analysis). The Performance Lab, which is facing the pool, also provides swimming-specific performance analysis tools and systems, to position the Sports School’s pool into a world-class training facility.

Besides that, various sport academies have also collaborated with NYSI’s sport scientists in various research studies to improve our student-athletes’ performance and well-being. Some of the studies include the Track and Field Academy’s Internal Competition Analysis, a post-race analysis conducted for Sprints and Jumps events, as well as projects to understand and improve the culture within the Swimming Academy, and the Holistic Ecological Approach Study and Implementation of Mental Skills Programme to build self-awareness and resilience for the Netball Academy.

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