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Overseas Trainings Bring Forth Growth Opportunities

Overseas Training Camp

School holidays are often the best time for students to take a break from books. While Singapore Sports School student-athletes take a break from books, they also maximise their opportunities to hone their skills through overseas training stints.

Student-athletes from Badminton, Football, Netball and Track and Field Academies immersed themselves in the sports cultures overseas and also had friendly competitions with their overseas counterparts.

Fifteen Badminton Academy student-athletes crossed the Causeway for a five-day training stint with Bukit Cheras Badminton Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which culminated with an intra-club competition. Hosts Bukit Cheras BC were the Division 1 champions in the 2018 Purple League Junior (PLJ).

From 6 to 10 June 2019, Singapore Sports School shuttlers had the privilege of sparring with players from Bukit Cheras who brought different skillsets and playing styles to the court. This provided opportunities for Sports School shuttlers to think and react quickly on their feet to match up to, and overcome, their opponents. An internal tournament was organised to create a stronger competitive atmosphere to encourage a higher standard of rivalry amongst the players.

By the end of training stint, our student-athletes had impressed the Malaysian coaches of Bukit Cheras BC so much so that they expressed interest in inviting student-athletes to join their club for the 5th PLJ in 2019. The Malaysian Junior League sees an annual participation of 300 local and international Under 19 players from 19 clubs competing in the Division 1 and Division 2 tiers.

By Faithmaria Ifeoma Mckevin Lawrence, Secondary 2
The eight-day training tour in Perth, Australia, from 28 May to 4 June 2019 was an amazing one for my team and I. The 19 of us from Secondary 1 and 2 grew together as a team and also gained much as individuals. This trip in particular has made me more open-minded towards learning and accepting differences within my team and leveraging on our similarities which will make us stronger together.

Staying at the Perth City Executive Apartments taught us to be more aware of one another’s needs and look out for one another during the trip. During the trip, we prepared most of the meals ourselves and we bonded over simple daily tasks such as preparing meals. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to whip up yummy food with my roommates.

We started off with a friendly match against John XXIII College to warm up to the Western Australian standard. However, the weather – which reached a low of 4 degrees Celsius during our stay there – proved to be an additional challenge to overcome. Our hands were numb from the cold and it was difficult even to catch passes from my teammates. However, we gave it our best, trying to adapt to the circumstances, which paid off in wins in both matches that we played. The team was also privileged to experience a special training session under Western Australia Netball Association’s Development Officers Ellie Sanzone and Karen Rigg. We learnt tips on how to execute certain movements more efficiently and effectively, which came in handy during the netball carnival we participated in over the next three days on 1 to 3 June.

Playing at Matthew Netball Centre where the three-day carnival was held was an amazing experience. The compound itself wowed us, with an amazing 52 indoor and outdoor netball courts. The diversity of the teams we competed against provided us with many growth opportunities as we learnt to adapt and tweak our tactical play so as to counter the different strategies employed by the various teams.

A trip to a fruit orchard was planned for us as an educational activity. It was a memorable experience of many firsts for majority of us, such as riding in a tractor and plucking oranges. We learnt about the process of farming oranges and how to identify the good ones – those hidden in the foliage and located higher up in the trees – before being split into teams. Who knew that a simple activity like plucking good oranges would require teamwork? Our reward at the end of a long day of fruit picking? Fresh, juicy oranges that oozed sweetness with every bite we took.

For twelve days from 22 May to 2 June 2019, 28 Football, Swimming, and Track and Field student-athletes from Sports School were on an exchange programme with Sportschule im Olympiapark – Poelchau-Schule in Berlin, Germany. In addition to being exposed to training and competing in a country with temperate climate, the student-athletes had the privilege of a homestay experience with a local family to better understand the German culture.

The exchange programme in Berlin is the result of a partnership sealed on 12 February 2019 between Singapore Sports School and Sportschule im Olympiapark. A group of students from Sportschule’s football, swimming, and track and field teams had visited Sports School earlier this year in February.

Student-athletes were able to learn from training alongside their German counterparts, as well as receive coaching from the German coaches, which added a different dimension to their sport development. Being exposed to a higher standard of sport that the German students brought to the field provided the springboard for our student-athletes to develop in their respective sports. .

Highlights of the exchange programme include visiting the Olympiastadion Berlin which hosted several sports at the 1936 Olympic Games, and being spectators at several sports competitions to soak in the strong European sporting culture.