The country’s best female basketball players at the Under 19 level battled it out at trials at Massey University’s Recreation Centre in Albany on Friday night. Around 50 young women took part, in the hope of securing a spot in the New Zealand U19 Women’s Team.
The evening involved a range of tactical exercises, motivational talks and fitness testing. Massey University Exercise and Sports Science students Luke Stanaway, Lauren Nicholas, Damon Penver and Daniel Gordon were in charge of the fitness testing, which included the Yo-Yo Level 1 Intermittent recovery test, 5m, 10m and 20m sprint testing, vertical jump height and a basketball specific agility test.
Kate McMaster, from Massey’s School of Sport and Exercise says, “Many of the current players in the Tall Ferns have followed this process, coming up through the U19 team and going on to represent their country at the highest level. It was made clear to the girls this could be the path they may go on to follow, and be hugely successful. New Zealand is very well respected on the world basketball stage.
“The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to help out with the trials, and did an outstanding job testing a large number of participants, under strict time constraints. It really highlighted the skills and professionalism they have developed under the Bachelor of Science – Exercise and Sport Science program.”
Student Lauren Nicholas was thrilled to take part. “I really enjoyed being able to apply what we had learnt over the last three years doing the degree. Being able to work with Basketball New Zealand was a real eye opener to how fitness testing really operates.”
Basketball New Zealand U19 head coach Brent Matehaere was impressed by the quality of the testing and the Massey students involved. “It was the best standard yet, and gave the girls a real sense of elite camp, and what we want to provide for them.”
Ms McMaster says Tall Ferns coach Kennedy Kereama, who attended the session, was really impressed with how the students worked and would be interested in the possibility of getting Massey University involved in fitness testing with the Tall Ferns if the opportunity arises.
Mr Matehaere passed her contact details on to the Head Strength and Conditioning coach of the Australian-based Basketball WA National Performance Program, who is also involved with the Tall Ferns.
Ms McMaster says, “Some really positive leads were developed and I will work hard to progress these into what can hopefully be an ongoing relationship with Basketball New Zealand.”