STUDENTS with exceptional athletic ability at The Lyford Cay International School (LCIS) now have new support for their ambitious goals: The Elite and Developmental Sports Programme (EDS).
Designed to supplement the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and wide range of extracurricular programmes, EDS offers high quality coaching and training opportunities to athletes who have outgrown the regular school mandated PE classes and after school clubs.
“We realised that we had athletes who wanted more,” said Craig Massey, director of athletics. “They wanted more training sessions, more overall sports knowledge and more competition.”
The EDS programme provides competitive and emerging athletes with customised rigorous training programmes in conjunction with the school day. Athletes have many more opportunities to compete in their chosen sports nationally and internationally.
There are two levels of support offered - the Elite Level, made up of predominantly secondary students, and the Developmental Level which consists of mainly elementary students. Elite athletes participate in football (soccer), swimming and tennis and train up to seven times a week.
Two of the weekly training sessions focus on strength and conditioning. Students work with highly qualified exercise physiologists, a nutritionist and a physiotherapist at Bahamas Medical Fitness Center. The Developmental Level offers football (soccer), swimming, judo and equestrian with training two to five
times a week.
EDS has met with great enthusiasm from parents and students alike, with more than 30 per cent of LCIS students participating.
Said Donny Hansen, parent of a grade nine student in the Elite football programme: “LCIS has been really good for her. This programme has taken her athletics to a higher level and it is instilling lifelong skills and academic focus.”
EDS athletes are fully committed with many participating in early morning training schedules and rearranging their academic schedules to fit in their training sessions after school and during elective periods.
“I feel like my fitness level has increased greatly. The exercises I do have increased my endurance level,” said Mandisa Walle, a grade nine member of the Elite tennis programme.
All EDS coaches bring very high levels of professionalism to the programme. Coach Jamal Adderley, a Bahamian Davis Cup tennis player, is working with tennis athletes at beautiful facilities kindly offered by the Mactaggart and Hart families.
Equestrian athletes train under Erika Adderley at Mariposa Stables.
Football training takes place on the LCIS professional grade pitch under coaches Dean Jacobs, a UEFA, USSF and FA certified coach, national soccer team member Cameron Hepple and FIFA coach Sam Dowell.
Drew Lightbourne, former Bahamian national swimming team member and assistant Kori Thompson, coach swimming in the the newly refurbished 25m pool on the LCIS campus.
Judo is being taught by Eduardo Vianna, a second degree black belt in Brazilian judo and purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Students also get to hear from the pros competing in their disciplines. Grand Slam tennis champion Lleyton Hewitt recently gave a presentation about the expectations and hard work that must be put in to get to the professional level.
Travel to athletic events in The Bahamas and internationally is another important facet of the EDS programme. “We want our athletes to be exposed to a wider range of abilities and environments, “ said Frederic Bournas, assistant principal at LCIS.
“Travel exposes players and coaches to different training techniques and expands their understanding of the world around them. It helps give players an opportunity to demonstrate their ability and to learn new skills,” he said.
The EDS boys soccer players recently travelled to New England to play against four top high schools (Deerfield Academy, Eaglebrook, Northfield Mount Hermon and Fessendon). The girls and boys teams are competing in Turks and Caicos in mid-November.
The tennis team is planning a trip to the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. The judo team will be sending 12 representatives to the All-Star Stripe Judo Tournament in Nassau. The swimmers participated in their first swim meet of the season at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex on November 8 and posted excellent results.