Bajans vs Trinis in June
The Barbados netball team is stronger in every aspect than the one which finished seventh last October at the Commonwealth Games in India, and will get a chance to test this against Trinidad and Tobago in three warm-up matches there in June.
It will cost the Barbados Netball Association (BNA) almost $170 000 to send the team to the World Netball Championships in Singapore from July 3 to 10, but the trip to Trinidad and Tobago has been fully funded by that country.
Barbados came from behind to defeat Trinidad and Tobago 60-59 in that seventh-place match.
“This team is stronger in fitness, standard of play and personnel,” head coach Alwyn Babb told SUNSPORT in a recent interview. “The final team will be very difficult to pick.”
The coach said the level of commitment was high and attendance at training was consistently good.
The players who didn’t make the cut for the Commonwealth Games have also returned to training, with several others joining the unit.
The most notable is goalkeeper Shonette Azore from Pine Hill St Barnabas, who has returned to the squad after several years.
Babb has already implemented his 25-day programme and the June 2 to 6 tour to Trinidad comes at the right time.
“It comes at the beginning of June when the schedule had extended playing time. So the three matches back-to-back fit into the aims of the programme at that time when they would have been doing six 15s (minutes) and four 20s.
“To have that against opposition that we have played against in competition is better than playing against each other or looking to put together a team. We can do real assessment.”
Babb said he was hoping they would be able to carry at least 15 players and choose a different 12 each game so that players get a chance to show their skills in competition.
As part of the 25-day programme, Babb and the other team officials have been meeting with the players in specific groups related to their area on court and as individuals. They have already met with the defenders and the mid-court players.
The defenders were challenged to focus on their contribution to the game, improve their standard of play and to bring that level of confidence to the game. The session for centre court players focused on reducing passing errors and the overall delivery of the ball to the shooters who will have their session this week.
The mental side of the game is not being left behind. The coach said they would seek out people to give motivational talks and teach the players how to deal with defeat as well as display a winning attitude and positive body language on court.
Meanwhile, BNA secretary Nisha Cummings said they were finalizing their fund-raising activities and would make an official announcement soon.