Micky the captain who makes others tick

Skipper Micky Lin was a positive influence on the team and could get her team-mates to play with a smile.
Skipper Micky Lin was a positive influence on the team and could get her team-mates to play with a smile.

Many will know the photogenic Micky Lin as the face of Singapore's netball team. But the former national defender was also the glue that bound the squad during her time as the team's captain.

The skipper's tact in interacting with her team-mates and her willingness to openly discuss issues and consider others' opinions made her like a "bridge between the players and the coach", according to Nurul Baizura, who served alongside Chen Huifen as the team's co-vice-captain.

Netball Singapore's chief executive officer Cyrus Medora said: "She was very easy-going, very approachable, and she made sure everybody was comfortable with each other."

National coach Ruth Aitken added: "Micky was always calm and collected. She knew how to handle people very well, and we could see that she was a natural leader for a very long time."

Aitken noted that the 30-year-old had "empathy" and a "high level of understanding about what makes people tick".

"She had the ability to get everyone onboard, and was always a positive voice in the team that made everybody look good," she said.

Her qualities shone through at the Asian Netball Championship final in 2014 against Sri Lanka.

"We played badly in the first few minutes, and were down by eight," recalled team-mate Premila Hirubalan.

"I get very angry when things don't go well on court, and I start shouting at people. Micky looked at me and said 'just look at me and smile', and I looked at her, kept quiet and played on.

"She is someone you can depend on to make you a better person."

Leadership was "something that developed over a period of time" for Lin, who was first tested in leadership roles by her coaches when she played in the younger age groups.

She said: "I try to put myself in the shoes of the younger players, and think if they are coming into the team, what would they like? I prefer to look at the human side of things. It's the small actions that make a difference, like giving the new players a pat on the back after their first training."

According to Aitken, Lin was key in helping 1.96m-tall basketball player Chen Lili adapt to her new sport when the China-born player joined them in 2010.

"Micky was instrumental in helping Lili to understand the game. She didn't just tell her what to do, but explained, reinforced, and asked her questions to help her grow into the game," said the Kiwi.

"I often listened to her as she spoke to Chen on the bench, and she was always very motivating."

Lin, a digital marketing assistant manager at Deloitte Singapore, bowed out of international netball after 102 caps.

For Aitken, whose decorated career saw her coach New Zealand to the world title in 2003, there is little doubt that Lin was special.

The tactician paid the ultimate compliment: "She is probably the most amazing team player that I have ever coached over the years."

Ng Keng Gene

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2016, with the headline 'Micky the captain who makes others tick'. Print Edition | Subscribe