Train them Young, Samoa Netball Academy

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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BUILDING CHARACTER: Girls working on their netball skills. (inset) Ruta Schwalger.

BUILDING CHARACTER: Girls working on their netball skills. (inset) Ruta Schwalger.

Four weeks of tough trainings has really paid off for the Netball Samoa Academy with skills improving tremendously.

The eight week programme has reached its halfway mark with 111 registered members and with Ruta Schwalger at the helm; the girls are looking to only get better.

Being the National Development Manager for Netball Samoa and the Academy Programme Manager, Ms. Schwalger and her team have given the rising netball stars of Samoa a safe haven to better their skills.

“The academy is a place where we bring girls in so that they could learn their basic skills, tactical plays as well as learning how to exercise and prepare for the game,” Ms. Schwalger said during an interview with the Sunday Observer.

“So we teach game preparations alongside character values to become a successful athlete which they then can transfer into their personal lives.

“This particular programme caters to girls who are within the age groups ranging from 14 to 18.”

According to Ms. Schwalger, the programme also has a few male participants.

“Going around the school zones competitions we noticed that there were quite a few male supporters on the side lines who were really enthusiastic,” she said.

“So when we approached them about the academy, they were happy that there was something there for them so we now include them here.”

Ms. Schwalger has been very pleased with how far the girls have come after only 4 short weeks.

“After 4 weeks we have seen a lot of improvement, the girls come in every week raring to go and ready to learn,” she said.

“Their skills have definitely picked up and the whole team spirit is something else.

“There are a lot of different schools here so the girls get the chance to meet others from different schools here where they learn how to be a team and to be valuable team members, that’s what I have seen so far.”

The academy prides itself on providing training that is not only useful on court, but in every day life.

“One of the main goals for this is character development, we teach core values that we try to instill in the girls,” Ms. Schwalger said.

“There are four values we teach which are: servant leadership, respect, responsibility and sportsmanship.

“Now these four character values are things they can bring with them to training on the court as well as their home and school life.”

The academy also acts as a stepping stone to a better future in the sport.

“From the academy we are hoping to feed these girls into our clubs, we also have a high performance group where we will push the girls up to the national levels,” Ms. Schwalger said.

“We have developed a player pathway so the girls know where they need to go, where they want to go and how they will go about achieving that.

“I would just like to thank the parents, especially the ones who come from really far like Aleipata, Lefaga, Safata.

“The parents have been really supportive with bringing the girls here ever Saturday morning and it’s something that is really important to us.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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