With the 8th ASEAN Para Games just around the corner, we wanted to take the chance to sit down with Brigitte Lichtenberger, one of the physiotherapists here at PhysioActive. As well as working tirelessly with our patients, Brigitte is also the physiotherapist for Singapore’s national wheelchair basketball, who will be competing in this year’s games from 3rd – 9th December.
Brigitte’s hard work has already been picked up by the Straits Times, and we’re all excited to see how the team gets on! Read on to find out more about Brigitte and the team…
Do you think that competing in Singapore will give you a home turf advantage?
I’m sure that playing in Singapore will motivate the players a lot, and I hope that lots of people will come along to experience the impressiveness of the game.
You’re head coach of the team: What exactly does this role entail?
I plan and conduct most of the training, and I’m working closely with the team’s manager and with my assistant coach to organise everything before the games so that the athletes can concentrate on their training and their matches.
Are there any skills that you’ve learned as a physiotherapist that you can apply to your coaching?
The medical background helps me to understand the capabilities of each individual player and to plan where they can improve.
Will you be taking any time off work during the competition? If so, how supportive have Denis and the team been?
I will have to stay in the games village for the entire event, which means that I can’t work in the clinic. Denis and the team were very supportive in giving me time off to represent Singapore.
Your opponents aren’t confirmed yet. Are there any teams that you’d particularly like to either play or to avoid?
The teams we’re most likely to play against are very strong, as some of the players in other countries are playing full-time. Our average age is quite high for wheelchair basketball, but my goal is to create awareness of the sport and to motivate other people to join in, as it’s a good opportunity to improve mobility and to get more independent and confident. I look forward to playing against all of the teams, as you can always learn and improve.
How long has the wheelchair basketball team been practicing for the games?
I started to coach them in the middle of August, which isn’t much time to prepare them. The team itself has existed for a long time, and they’ve been training recreationally for several years.
How did you get into coaching the team?
I was coaching them for a while several years back and then stopped, when they just played recreationally. This summer they approached me, when they found out that they’d be participating in the games, and they asked if I’d like to join the team to help them prepare for the event. I started my coaching career about 15 years ago in Switzerland by forming a team in my hometown.
It’s half time and your team is losing. You have 30 seconds to give them a pep talk – what do you say?
This is difficult to answer. It depends if we’re the attacking team or the defending one. I’d give tactical instructions, but I’d also make sure to motivate them to play until the end, as the game is only over after sure I would motivate to play till the end, as the game is only over after 40 minutes.
Best of luck to Brigitte and the Singapore Wheelchair Basketball team – we’ll be keeping a keen eye on the results! In the meantime, if you’d like to book an appointment with Brigitte or one of our other specialist physiotherapists, get in touch.