This week’s post is written by PPI – Middle East’s basketball trainer Edniesha Curry.
This week, the weather was awesome in Ein Raffa, so we got the chance to do a full skill development obstacle course for 20 kids between the ages of 7 and 10. At this age, we focus on ball control, body control and the understanding of basic basketball language and rules. Since I began working with the Ein Raffa participants this past February, I have noticed a huge improvement in their understanding of the game and their body control. At the end of each practice, if I notice a skill hasn’t been perfected, I put them in a circle and have them watch me do it a couple of times. I then have them practice it as their “basketball homework.” The next practice then begins with that maneuver.
Over the last few months, the group has started to open up to me, and even started teaching me some Arabic – which is pretty cool because it is not the easiest language to pick up. They still get a giggle or two at ‘coaches’ accent, but they appreciate me trying to learn their language while being on the court with them. I want to mention here that my language teachers are all about 24 years younger than me, so they get a kick out of having the leadership role. I have learned the following Arabic phrases: ‘Slowly’, ‘Hello’, ‘How are you doing?’, ‘What’s up?’, ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘You’re welcome’, ‘Thank you’, and ‘Missed shot’ – which makes the kids laugh hysterically when I say it… I can also now count to ten.
Zaina, by far, is my hardest teacher. She speaks English very well, so her standards are very high when it comes to me speaking her native language. Zaina will be a future leader. She enjoys life and the game of basketball. It has been a blast getting to know her on and off the court.
It has been a pure blessing working with this group as we teach each other something new through basketball. That is what makes this sport so powerful – it brings people together that are so, very different. As I always like to say, thanks for allowing me to continue changing lives – one dribble at a time.