On an average weekday afternoon at The Y Cameron Pool and Leisure Centre, you might not realise that, amongst the hubbub of school swimming classes, individuals working out, and staff getting on with their normal routines, lives are being changed.

To be specific, the Western Springs Senior Basketball team’s lives are being changed. Participating in the Combine training programme that Cameron Pool developed and run, these young men are transforming their bodies, their skills, and their minds.

Combine Performance Training Programme aims to enhance athletic development and performance for athletes in team sports. ​ With a team of expert coaches and state-of-the-art training facilities at The Y Cameron, Combine offers a comprehensive training program designed to maximise athletic potential. ​ The programme builds on what teams are already doing and is designed to fit in at times and days that suit the team (before/during/after school or work). For Western Springs High School, their two training days a week have become the magic formula.

The programme uses professional sports coaches to take athletes to another level. Think of Combine as ‘advanced training’ – coaching, conditioning and expertise that can turn a good team to an excellent one. Combine offers access to coaches who have played and coached at the highest level, providing athletes with expert guidance and training to excel in their team sports. The programme’s sport-specific coaches are experts in their field, such as Lionel.

Watching Coach Lionel take these 16–18-year-olds through one of their two weekly sessions was inspiring and exhausting. The tailor-made training package has been customized to meet the specific needs of their team, with a plethora of exercises that optimise jumps, sharp movements, core stabilisation and balance, strength, and coordination perfect for playing basketball.

Combine's comprehensive training programme covers various aspects of athletic development, including strength training, speed training, mental conditioning, fitness, nutrition, and position-specific training. ​ This holistic approach ensures athletes are well-rounded and prepared for the demands of their chosen sport. ​Mixing it up through the season, the programme changes every three weeks to consistently challenge the participants and results in what a Western Springs team member describes as a “massive difference in our energy and our performance.”

A young athlete with Coach Leo

With the music pumping, teammates supporting and the expert and uplifting guidance of Lionel, these athletes push themselves hard. With the words “your core should be burning,“don’t cheat, you’re only cheating yourselves” and “people gotta be working” echoing through the gym, there is no doubt they are actively encouraged. After 7 weeks of training in the Combine programme, progress is truly clear to see. The young men themselves are rapt with the results, “the way we’ve been training there is no excuse for us not to perform.”

Combine is seen as a huge opportunity for sports teams in the region to maximise their potential and see the results in their game performances, as well as in the development of discipline, confidence, drive, and high-performance mindset in the participants. And for current participants, Western Springs High School Senior Basketball team, it is reaping results. Western Springs remain unbeaten in the current league tables!

If you, your team, or school are interested in finding out more and getting involved please contact Mark Michaels at mark.michaels@ymcaauckland.org.nz or on 021722524. Soon you could be top of the table too.