Last weekend, PPI-NI held their coaches training in West Belfast at Farset International. Organised by International Fellow Casey and other PeacePlayers staff, the weekend brought veteran coaches and new faces together in order to learn more about PPI-NI programs and what their role in these programs will be during the year. These coaches would be preparing to facilitate programs that PPI-NI coordinates such as the Primary School Twinnings program and the Belfast Interface League (BIL).
After getting to know each other a bit on the first day, the coaches broke into teams to work on presentations that covered topics such as facilitation, risk management, the “PPI-NI Way”, sectarianism, and ideas and concepts from the Arbinger Institute. These presentations included activities and games that promoted discussion and critical thinking throughout the day. A lot of the activities related to ones that coaches would be using with their participants during their respective programs. By taking part in each presentation, coaches could discover the best ways to implement each activity and how to relate that activity to themes like conflict and collaboration.
The second day started with a brief recap, followed by a brainstorming session where teams were meant to come up with new ideas that could be implemented into the program. Coaches were not only asked to come up with activities, but to relate each activity to the different themes that PeacePlayers will use. These new games were great for learning more about the community relations aspect of the PeacePlayers program.
During the afternoon of the second day, teams met at the Stranmillis University College basketball court, where they went through some fundamentals of coaching basketball with International Fellows Joe and Nasiphi. The basics of passing, shooting, and playing defense came easy to some, but this training focused on key aspects of each basketball skill. Phrases such as “Triple Threat” and “B.E.E.F.” were core parts of what to do and how to teach basketball. These tips helped the coaches to understand these skills and teach them to children and young people.
As the end of the coaches training drew near and participants started to make their way home, a few PPI members stayed around to play some pick-up basketball. With new coaches and experienced coaches playing on the same teams, each person could focus on either learning more about the game of basketball or learning more about how to teach the game of basketball. It was a great way to end the weekend and to pick up on how the game of basketball actually works.
The staff at PPI-NI heard a lot of great feedback from the participants including a new coach Oisín. “Really enjoyed the training weekend,” he said, “it was a great opportunity to bond with the other coaches and also learn in depth about the PeacePlayers organis ation.” PPI-NI looks forward to another great year of programming and the coaches seem more than ready to take on the challenge of teaching kids about community relations and the game of basketball.