IN a bid to boost the mental as well as physical well-being of the senior team, the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has engaged the services of noted sports psychologist Kadija Richards ahead of the upcoming away Test series against world number four England.
Richards formerly worked with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA). The programme will involve group as well as individual sessions.
"We think that on-court preparation is just as important preparation as mental. The two go hand-in-hand. It's a holistic approach the JNA is going for. It's physical and mental," team manager Vanda Levy-McMillan told the Jamaica Observer.
The Sunshine Girls, who moved up to number three in the world after winning the Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) Championships in July, will make stops in Birmingham, Sheffield, and Liverpool while on their tour of the United Kingdom.
"We spent some time with the girls.... and to maintain the place that we have, you need to be ready in all aspects, not just physical. You work hard to get there and once you get there you have to maintain and it takes work because easily you will fall," Levy-McMillan explained.
The manager, who has worked with the team for the last year, added that the move was part of a new thrust by the local governing body.
"We want to create a new JNA and so in this new drive we're now engaging Kadija," she stated.
Levy-McMillan, who also works with the local Development as well as Under-16 and Under-21 squads, said Richards will be expected to help make the team a more cohesive unit.
"I expect her to bring... mental toughness so that they can rebound where there is a loss; so they can understand collectively what it means to win and to lose and if there are any individual issues," she said.
The senior netballers will be in England from September 17 to 27.