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Coaches of netball, the island’s top women's sport, are benefitting from advanced training, which will better enable them to build the skills and techniques of the country’s players from the earliest stage.

The six-week training course, which began on March 17, is a joint venture between the University of Technology (UTech) and the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA). It is being held on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day, and covers modules in basic theory and technical preparation sciences.

Participants will receive advanced level one coaching certificates upon completion.

President of the JNA, Marva Bernard, says the training programme, which has been three years in development, is imperative “if Jamaica is to continue its winning ways in the sport”.

Jamaica’s netball team – the Sunshine Girls – is ranked among the top five teams in the world.

“Quality coaches are integral to any successful sport development programme. But the reality is that there are not enough certified coaches to meet the growing number of women and girls, who play the sport,” she says, noting that some 250,000 girls play netball at primary, preparatory and high schools throughout the island.

She says the association is  intent on deepening the penetration of netball in all the parishes, therefore it is imperative that coaches receive the highest standard of training so that quality players will be produced at the national and parish levels.

“By the end of 2013, it is expected that some 240 coaches will be trained and qualified so that our young girls, who deserve this kind of coaching, will benefit,” she says.

Head of the Technical Certification Division, Caribbean School of Sports Sciences, UTech, Andre Waugh, says the aim of the course “is to produce a cadre of coaches, who are capable of developing Jamaica’s netball and taking it to another level”.

He informs that the basic theory component provides the participants with knowledge of the sciences governing the function of the body, principles of training and prevention and treatment of injuries, while the technical preparation side of the course teaches participants the practical aspects of the game.

The areas being covered include exercise physiology, sports psychology, anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition, sports management, sports medicine, methodology, communication, fitness, ethics, coaching methods, rules, skill development, and tactical development.

To receive certification, he says, the participants should obtain at least a 50 per cent pass mark in each of the modules.

With the course costing $50,000 per person, the league sponsors are footing the bill to enable at least two coaches from each league to participate in the training. Other sponsors have also come on board.

The league sponsors include: the Jamaica Public Service, which is supporting eight coaches from the west; Supreme Ventures Limited, which has two leagues, is sponsoring four trainers; while Berger Paint is assisting two coaches.

In addition, East Central St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, is sponsoring three female coaches; Jason Henzell from the BREDS Foundation is supporting a coach from St Elizabeth; while Noranda Bauxite is supporting coaches from St Ann.

In endorsing the course, Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita-Headley, says it is critical for the continued development of netball in Jamaica and to raise the standard of the game.

“Not only is the offering of the course important to the game of netball, but the certification, upon completion, will be an invaluable asset to the participants,” she points out.

The course, she adds, will assist in producing coaches of international standard, who will be able to offer training in other countries.  “If Jamaica can import coaches from Brazil to coach the national football team, why can't we produce international standard coaches to coach netball in other countries?” she questions.

“I look forward to experiencing the excitement of players eager to learn, coaches eager to transfer the knowledge and to see Jamaica’s netball ranking surpass our previous world standing,” she states.

President of UTech, Professor Errol Morrison, says the institution is committed to the continued development of netball in the island.

                                                              

By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter