THE Jamaica Netball Association's (JNA) High Performance director, Maureen Hall, has told the national senior players they will have to work harder than before if they are to improve their ranking of fourth in the world.
At a meeting with the senior netballers, including new recruits to team and members of the Under-21 squad at Netball House in St Andrew last Friday evening, Hall stressed the importance of training, discipline and diet in preparation for the major tournaments in 2013 and 2014 leading up to the World Netball Championship in Australia in 2015.
"Training will be exciting, it will be fun but it will be hard work," Hall told the Sunshine Girls. She said missing training will be regarded as being "missing from work" and will not be tolerated.
She pointed out that there were five JNA coaches with whom players could discuss whatever problems they were facing that could get in the way of their training.
"Talk about things with the coaches, but we will not accept your deciding to just not turn up at training," she reiterated.
Expressing disappointment with the team's shooting ability, Hall said: "We have failed miserably at shooting. Oftentimes the competition beats us only because they score, while we miss. No matter how good you are otherwise, matches are won by scoring goals."
According to the former national coach, proper diet is of utmost importance to the programme and so "you ladies cannot eat just anything". She said associated with their diet was hydration and encouraged players to drink five to six glasses of water a day.
In her presentation to the Sunshine Girls squad, national coach Oberon Pietterson-Nattie also underscored the importance of fitness to the success of the team.
"Fitness is the key to our success. We have a lot of catching up to do. We have to do fitness testing continually. The required skills will come, but fitness is the bottom line. Training will be dynamic."
Pitterson-Nattie also reiterated the urgency to improve shooting.
Meanwhile, JNA president Marva Bernard spoke with the players about the JNA; its structure; what it does for players; what it expects of players; sponsorship and media relations.
She, too, stressed the importance of hard work as the teams prepare for upcoming major competitions.
"We must improve our fourth positions at the Commonwealth and World Netball Championship levels and our bronze medal position at the World Youth Netball level," Bernard told the players.
The World Youth Netball Championship will be held in Scotland later this year, the Commonwealth Netball Championship also in Scotland in 2014, and the World Netball Championship in Australia in 2015.
Sasha-Gay Lynch, who plays as goalkeeper/goal defence for the Sunshine Girls, said the presentations were "informative, especially for the girls who are new to the squad. I agree that we need to do a tremendous amount of work to get our shooting skills up to par."