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“Netball has taught me to control my anger and to be more patient with my teammates. I used to get angry very easily,” revealed Sabrina Naden.

The CHIJ Katong Convent student said that KidzNet has helped her to become the captain of her school’s netball team. Her experience in the KidzNet netball programme made her a natural pick to lead her group when the class is split into smaller groups.

Despite being in the programme for nearly five years, Sabrina is still enthused by the Saturday games. The 11 year-old loves the sense of camaraderie in the sport. She raved: “You get to know new friends and it (Netball) involves teamwork. When we work together, we know that we are progressing well in the game.”

Every Saturday morning, Kallang Netball Centre is enlivened by students like Sabrina, who are bundles of energy playing under the sun, huddled over a ball.

The kids, boys and girls alike with some as young as 4 years old, are participating in KidzNet – a modified Netball programme jointly organized by Netball Singapore and Sportz Kulture. KidzNet hold different classes to target learning for children from 4 to 12 years of age.

It may be a peculiar sight to the uninitiated with the smaller netballs and shorter goal posts on court. The physical elements in KidzNet are shrunk to better fit the smaller tots and this is one of the reasons why the programme is so successful. The game grows with the kids as they progress to more advanced classes where goals are eventually scored using the normal posts and the strategic game is played through the length of the court.

Sabrina’s mother, Anita Thaver, agreed that Sabrina can work together with other people and get along with them better now. Impressed with the program, she said: “The coaches know their stuff and they impart their knowledge to the girls. I can see my daughter apply it.
KidzNet is doing a good job in teaching the girls the skills they need to move on to the next level and better their playing skills.”

For 12 year-old Alexis Lok, KidzNet is the platform that sparked her passion in Netball. KidzNet was first introduced as an enrichment programme in her school and the Tanjong Katong Primary student decided she could not get enough of the game.

“Netball is fun! It’s a team game, when you bond with your friends, it makes it better. You get motivated by your friends and you can push yourself even further,” said Alexis.

On top of training three times a week with her school netball team, Alexis makes it a point to attend KidzNet every Saturday morning because of her competitive nature and desire to constantly improve. “KidzNet have a lot of experienced coaches. From each coach, you can always learn a new skill,” she explained.

Alexis’s father, Lok Yek Soon, added: “The different coaches help to give Alexis bigger exposure when they teach different aspects of the game and they are very patient.”
The KidzNet program was initiated in 2005 and has since evolved over the years as Netball grew in the local scene. It started out as a carnival-styled holiday programme for kids to learn the sport and subsequently developed into its current 10-week term to bring about better targeted learning.

In view of its popularity, KidzNet coach Goh Lizhen said: “We decided to develop the program further because the parents kept coming back to us and said, ‘We want more leh’. After every term, there will be a KidzNet carnival for the kids to put into play what they have learnt. When you see kids coming in, they don’t know anything about Netball. (Having gone through the program,) eventually seeing them playing the game knowing the rules, it’s very fulfilling.”

Goh added that the main purpose of many parents sending their children to the programme is to have them learn to socialize. “I have seen children who come and don’t want to talk, cannot control anger. But slowly when the coaches help them and also through playing the team sport, eventually they learn how to communicate with other kids, they learn how to manage their anger when they don’t get the ball,” Goh divulged. “KidzNet is not just about learning Netball, it’s also about learning self confidence through sports.”

KidzNet Saturday Programme

Time: Every Saturday 8am to 10am
Venue: Kallang Netball Centre
Ages: 4 to 12 years old
Contact Person: Goh Lizhen
Tel: 9877 6715

For more information, visit: The Kids Network or Netball Singapore

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