Nurturing talent through Gold Squad: GIIS’ specialised sports programme

Shubhdarshani Mitra
Jan 12, 2024
Learning, School

Recognising the advantages of holistic education, at an early age, can immensely benefit your child. In today’s 21st century world, academic excellence along with non-academic distinction is the blueprint to success. As such, educational institutions that provide beyond the classroom opportunities set up students for success.

At GIIS Singapore, our 9GEMS framework for holistic approach to education provides an array of beyond-the-classroom opportunities for our students, including sports in school. Moreover, our students have access to the Gold Squad programme, a specialised training opportunity in sports that is designed to nurture students’ physical prowess, mental acuity and values. 

With a focus on popular sports like badminton, cricket, football, basketball, tennis, the Gold Squad programme has become a platform for GIIS students to explore, learn, showcase talents and achieve success. 

Honing skills beyond sports

The programme goes beyond honing skills specific to sports, encompassing mental strength and agility, ethical qualities, peer interaction and emotional maturity. This holistic approach ensures that the students not only excel in their chosen sports but also develop essential life skills.

“Our Gold Squad programme has been designed for the overall fitness of our students. Moreover, it helps them in building specific skills like mental alertness, social interaction and emotional maturity,” says Jerald Jeganathan, Head of Physical Education, GIIS Singapore.

Selection criteria: ‘Endurance, agility’

As part of the selection process, students are evaluated based on a range of skills. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking and teamwork, ensuring that selected students are not just skilled athletes but are also capable of adapting to various situations.

“When selecting students, we look at endurance, flexibility, strength and agility. These students should have the drive to perform. We prepare students to become critical thinkers so that they can perform in different situations,” says Anirudh Gautam, basketball coach, GIIS Singapore.

In 2022-23, athletics and table tennis were added to the Gold Squad programme.

With the programme providing training in popular sports, our students get to compete in multiple competitions held within the school and in external events, throughout the year. 

“Sports like badminton, cricket, football, basketball, tennis are offered as in-demand sports in Singapore. As we provide additional training in the same, this helps our students to participate in numerous competitions,” says Muhammad Haiqal, PE teacher, GIIS Singapore.

Also read: How Sports play a vital role in school

Tailored training methods

The training methods are diverse and tailored to each sport within the Gold Squad. Whether it's fundamental skills in basketball or the nuances of cricket, students undergo weekly sessions aimed at improving their skills, teamwork and game knowledge. 

“In terms of training, every game requires unique skill sets. For example, in basketball, we start from the fundamental skills like dribble control. We look at team tactics and take verbal tests on their knowledge about the game. So, skills are checked and students are selected accordingly. The sessions are held once in a week throughout the season,” adds Coach Anirudh.

Support provided to student athletes

At GIIS, our coaches have access to SPEDAS, a sports analytics tool, used to assess student performance. The tool provides valuable insights into overall strengths and weaknesses of the students. This data-driven approach helps students track their progress, fostering motivation and a deeper understanding of their game.

“We are using sports analytics called SPEDAS. It is very useful in assessing student performance. Through that we can find out which students are good in speed and strength. Moreover, when our students get to better understand their game, they are motivated to perform better,” adds Jerald.

Aligning with values

Sivakanesh Sanmugam, a PE teacher at GIIS Singapore, emphasises on discipline instilled through the programme, highlighting the sacrifices students make - either to attend early morning practices or after-school sessions. 

“The programme helps build discipline. The students learn to make sacrifices, which help them develop a resilient mindset, which they take forward in their lives,” says Sivakanesh.

Opportunities and achievements

Munish Arora, cricket coach, GIIS Singapore discusses the competitive nature of the Gold Squad, where the top-performing students make it to the team. The programme provides opportunities to participate in inter-school events, and standout performances can lead to selections for the Singapore national team. 

“For the Gold Squad programme, we select 20 students. It’s quite competitive because we shortlist 15 for the team. And then, the final 11. So, it is very competitive. We participate in a lot of inter-school events, and students who have the potential get selected for the national team.

“Since the Gold Squad started, we have had 20 GIIS students who have been selected for the Singapore cricket team. We have students in the national team and in ACSIS U12 and U14. Our students have been winning Gold this year (2023),” says Coach Munish.

To conclude, the Gold Squad programme at GIIS Singapore has emerged as a transformative platform that not only nurtures athletic talent but also moulds well-rounded individuals with essential life skills. As students continue to shine both in academics and sports, the Gold Squad programme stands as a testament to GIIS' commitment to holistic education and the pursuit of excellence.

If you are keen to know more about GIIS and the various programmes offered, please don’t hesitate to book a campus tour.

This blog is a summarised version of the GIIS SMART Cast podcast – Nurturing Gold Squad Champions at GIIS.

Shubhdarshani Mitra

Shubhdarshani has over 10 years of experience in content creation, curation and editing. She has worked for Indian newspapers, school magazines and international news websites where she worked closely with the leadership on the execution and communication of the content strategy. Aside from work, she’s a passionate B&W photographer and storyteller.

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