Aspire today inspire tomorrow Filed on September 23, 2021

Children at the academy soak up the benefits of a variety of sports coached by internationally accredited instructors

A safe environment for kids

Clare Willson, Managing Director, My Sports Academy

Tell us the mission of My Sports Academy.

Our mission statement is to continue building a child-centred, developmental and focused sports academy in Dubai — an academy that nurtures and inspires every athlete in a happy, healthy and safe environment. Every athlete is equally as important as the next, ranging from as young as babies through to Elite Performance athletes. We connect people through sport and our goal is to create a lifelong love for the sport that leads to active and healthy life choices.

What role does a sports academy play in developing an individual’s personality?

My Sports Academy has a key role in a child’s personal and social development, allowing them to express themselves with other athletes within a multicultural environment. Sport can encourage the unification of a multitude of languages and cultures that athletes can embrace without the restriction of boundaries. The participants learn to communicate with peers of all ages while engaging in a respectful relationship with the coaching team, who can embrace, motivate and empower their athletes to reach potential and levels of confidence that they may never have realised they were capable of.

As a team we have a proud history of athlete-centred learning, embracing family values whilst being purposeful and fun at the same time. This builds a well cultured open-minded athlete who can fulfil their goals both emotionally, physically, and developmentally, which then has a positive impact on the child in an educational and developmental environment within the school.

What are some of the offerings by the academy in Dubai?

My Sports Academy is a youth and adult sports coaching academy with four sports, swimming, netball, triathlon and football.

Swimming – Babies, Learn to Swim, Competitive and Performance Swim. Plus Adult Swim.

Triathlon — Youth and adults triathlon training in all three disciplines (running, swimming and cycling).

Netball — Training and leagues for both youth and adults.

Football — We have recently partnered with Charlton Athletic FC, which is headed up by ex-professional player John Robinson.

Coach education — an Amateur Swimming Association registered tutor centre able to qualify adults as swimming teachers and coaches plus lifeguarding plus house helpers rescue and basic CPR courses.

How is the academy different from the others?

We are four sports, one academy.

Quality — Our coaches and teachers are highly qualified, passionate and professional.

Core values — These values are at the heart of all we do and strive to achieve.

Family Values

Consistent Excellence

Professional Identity

Purposeful Fun

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Become a swimming pro

Nesha Durkin, Head Coach of My Swim Club

How is swimming different from other forms of fitness?

If you just look at the water environment where physical activity is happening while you are swimming it is already different from other sports isn’t it? However, there are other differences while we are comparing other sports and swimming and those are:

Low injury risk while you are swimming due to the support of the water.

Heart and blood circulation work with lower pressure because of swimmer’s horizontal.

Zero pressure on the ankles and bones of the swimmer — minimal impact.

Pleasant environment to train, especially in the hot climate of the UAE.

As human beings we are not biologically or morphologically created for the movement through the water, kids starting at an early age with swimming lessons can learn the movements, techniques and skills to improve and encourage ‘a feel’ for the water to fulfil their full aquatic potential.

Can you elaborate on the swimming facilities and benefits at the academy?

My Swim Club (MSC) is located at the six competitive swimming pools, all shaded and temperature controlled to make the best environment for the swimmers. All pools are clean and chemically treated and they are safe for swimmers of all ages and abilities that our programme offers.

Our MSC programme includes 'Born to Swim' programme for babies from three months up to three years old; 'Learn to Swim' that covers children from three to 10 years of age that are structured into eight progressive levels; and 'MSC Squad' programme represents the second part of the Long Term Athlete Development pathway supporting gifted swimmers, including Development, Competitive, Performance and Elite Performance squads.

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Lee Reddish, Head of Education/ASA Swim England Tutor

How is sports education picking up in the UAE?

Since the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has reopened swimming in the schools after Covid-19, there has been a mass of enquiries from school physical education (PE) departments wanting to upskill their existing staff to Swim England Level 2 teachers with us. We provide a great opportunity to provide education to PE staff to enhance and adapt their existing knowledge to meet the need of swimming within school curriculum lessons.

Can you talk about some of the programmes for coaches at the academy?

My Sports Academy provides Swim England Level 1 and 2 courses from age 16+, adults, PE staff or sports academies from around the world. Over the past eight years of running such courses, people have attended from African countries, Europe, UK, and all over the Middle East. Before Covid-19, I flew to China and delivered Swim England course Level 1 and 2 in Guangzhou to a group of 12 students. To date, 110 students have gained a swim-related qualification via the educational programme of My Sports Academy.

Through the education and training of teachers, we can provide a greater understanding of the fundamentals, core aquatic skills and water safety of swimming. Empowering new teachers to have the confidence to deliver structured lessons. As an ‘educator’ I say to my students: “You as a teacher have the privilege to write on the blank page of a child’s book. Fill it with wonder and happiness and swimming will forever be a part of their lives.”

For me, if I can give people the skills to teach swimming then there will be so many more children and adults who will learn to swim, and from that the awareness of water skills and safety, lives can be saved.

My Sports Academy reaches far beyond the delivery of a Swim England course, it changes people’s lives both young and old, and embraces the wonderful world of aquatics. “The only limitation is your imagination.”

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John Robinson, Head Coach of Charlton Athletic Football Club UAE

What is the role of the club and what skills does it focus on?

The role of Charlton Athletic Football Club Dubai (in partnership with MSA) is to offer the opportunity for young players to experience and to be part of a professional football club with history and a story. The club focuses on and constantly encourages the building and maintaining of a mutual relationship based on respect, honesty and integrity.

Having been a professional footballer with Charlton Athletic Football Club for over 12 years and playing over 450 games, plus playing internationally for over 10 years, and building an academy in America for 12 years and in England for two years, I have a depth and breadth of football skills at many levels to offer the children of the UAE.

I know the difference and what it takes to get to the top level and how to build a football academy and coach players of all levels.

I endorse that we are football coaches as well as life coaches with a strong passion for delivering positivity, discipline, focus and respect that the children can continue to display in all areas of their lives. We focus on ball skills, speed training, game tactics, physical awareness, individual skill sets but most importantly how to play and behave as part of a team. We do not only offer a high-end football training programme, we also focus their well-being by assisting to develop their physical, emotional and social skills.

How is the training different from regular football?

I can offer bespoke training programmes, due to my connection with the UK and USA-based Charlton Athletic Football academies. I have access to numerous high-end coaches that can come to the UAE and deliver the football courses and training in addition to the usual programme.

The club is supportive by supplying players pathways from the development centre to the academy. There is also an opportunity for players to attend university and still play football under the umbrella of Charlton AFC.

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Dmytro Plyuta, Lead Coach of My Tri Club

As a youth Tri Club in the UAE, what are the benefits of joining the club?

Access to great facilities, in a safe and controlled environment with experienced certified coaches to make the sessions fun, safe and productive.

Our young athletes are called the Tri Heroes, who are six to seven years old. These children are learning all the tri disciplines at a young age. Swimming technique, basic bikes skills, and they learn to run at a controlled pace to preserve and manage energy levels.

The classes are designed specifically for children. The idea is to introduce kids to one of the fastest-growing sports. Exposing them to three sports in one keeps them from getting bored and distracted.

They learn to develop whole-body coordination, endurance and strength, learning different sets of skills, that assist them to be better and stronger in other sports as well. This range of disciplines and skills also teaches them how to become confident and independent in everyday life.


Emily Wilkinson, Head Coach of My Netball Club

What is netball?

Netball is a sport predominantly played by females and can be played on either indoor or outdoor courts. There are two teams, each team has seven players with set positions. The aim of the game is to score as many goals as possible by shooting the ball into a ring at the top of a 10-foot high post. What makes netball challenging is that you can't move when in possession of the ball.

What is the popularity of netball as a sport?

Netball is a sport played by more than 20 million people and in more than 80 countries worldwide. It is a thriving sport in Dubai and continues to grow in popularity for all abilities and ages. There are only a few established clubs in Dubai in which the teams train and compete regularly.  Although it is not just a competitive sport, adults and children have the opportunity in Dubai to play and train socially to achieve their set of goals.

How does My Sports Academy Netball Club differ from the other netball clubs in Dubai?

My Netball Club has over 200 girls who train weekly. We are an established club that has locations across Dubai. What makes netball at My Sports Academy different is that we centre ourselves across four core values — Professional Identity, Purposeful Fun, Consistent Excellence and Family Values, which are incorporated into each training session or match day. We welcome every girl no matter her age or playing experience.  We are aware of each players individual goals, which we cater to whilst helping them improve all aspects of their netball game.

All MSA activities comply with the DSC's Covid-19 regulations.

For more information

Call: +971 58 590 6792



Nisthula Nagarajan

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