Pacific Games netball squad fighting fit, now looking at strategy

With the Pacific Games now just four months away, Samoa's netball squad are looking to shift their focus from fitness to how they will play the game.

The locally-based players in the squad have been training together three days a week, with three other days spent following a programme set by the national trainer.

Netball Samoa chief executive officer Rosemarie Esera said they've been working on fitness since September.

“They have two days of court specifics, and one day where they have a power session.

“If you look at the game of netball and how it’s evolved, fitness is a very key part of the game.

“To showcase their skills, they need to get to the ball."

She said they have reached a point where they can start talking game strategy.

“We need to now look at more court structure, even though it’s still a squad.

“The girls are starting to be really more focussed in their training."

Esera said there is a good sense of urgency now, and that everyone is getting excited with the Pacific Games around the corner.

“They’re starting to realise that there is a final 12."

That 12 for the Games will be finalised after the Pacific Nations Cup later this month.

Assistant coach Ruta Schwalger said they'll be looking to win every game there as well.

“The ultimate goal is for the gold, and if we are able to develop players along the way that’s a main priority for us.

“That is why we’ve been training in the last couple of months with our local players, to ensure they have every chance possible to make the final team."

Esera said getting facilities for training is always a challenge, and Netball Samoa would have loved to have been included in the China Sports Initiative, which has seen 10 sports head there to train in the months leading up to the Pacific Games.

“I’m in awe of the opportunities that our athletes are getting and being provided in China.

She said there may still be a way for netball to benefit from the Initiative.

“I’ve been speaking to the different managers of the different sporting codes, asking if on their return whether they could share what they have learned in China."

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