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Four juniors invited to trials

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

Four juniors invited to trials

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Four of the players who represented Barbados at the Caribbean Netball Association Jean Pierre Under-16 Tournament here in April are among seven who have been invited to senior trials.
Team MVP Shannon Hackett (Garrison/Carlton), captain Dalia Scantlebury (Combermere/Carlton), Chemyne Alleyne (Foundation/Carlton) and Shanice Wharton (Deighton Griffith/Church Village) have all received the call.
They were key to Barbados placing second at the tournament.
Also getting noticed by senior coach Alwyn Babb are former Under-16 captain Shanice Rock (The Lodge School/Brydens), former Under-21 trialist Alisa Codrington (BRC) and defender Kathleen Brathwaite (Carlton/Almond Lions/BWU).
Babb told NATIONSPORT practice sessions for the team resume at 6:30 p.m. today at The Lester Vaughan School. The senior team took a break after their seventh-place finish at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, last month.
This is part of the plan to ensure there is a pool of trained players from which to choose.
“We will be setting up a mentorship programme within the national programme with the younger ones, because we recognise that a number of players have indicated they are considering retirement after the World Championships,” he said.
“We want to make the transition as smooth as possible and we have invited a number of players, who, because of their skill level and physical characteristics – in terms of height – can serve these areas that are currently needed, particularly in the defensive and shooting circles.”
All of the players chosen are almost 6 ft tall and Babb hopes the younger ones will grow, as Barbados continues to have a height disadvantage at the international level.
Acknowledging that several are still at school, he said all sessions wouldn’t be compulsory for them.
Although these are the first set to receive invitations, the door is not closed to other aspiring players.
“The players who are at Under-21 trials can also benefit from senior trials, because we recognised from the Commonwealth Games that a number of Under-21 selectees have made the various national teams at the senior level,” Babb said.
“With the mentorship programme, there are others we have to keep our eyes on to bring through the system so that if a void is left it can be filled easily.”
These players will be put to train with national players. Therefore, the shooters like Alleyne and Hackett, for example, will be working out with Lydia Bishop, Laurel Browne and Nikita Piggott, while the defenders will benefit from honing their skills alongside Latonya Blackman and Lisa Puckerin.
Babb said all of the players who had been selected already had a certain level of skill, but he wanted them to commit to the physical training, since that was what distinguished elite athletes.
“As a coach, I want as early as possible to develop a positive attitude to training, an appreciation for physical fitness and a business-like approach to national representation. These are the three pillars of being a national selectee,” he stressed.
The team will be training towards a tri-nation series with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago next April as well as the World Championships in Singapore from July 3 to 10.