PPI-CY Creating Leaders and Global Citizens Through Basketball

Teaching values such as teamwork and trust through basketball drills

Teaching values such as teamwork and trust through basketball drills

Today’s blog is written by PeacePlayers – Cyprus International Fellow Ashley Johnson. Ashley was a  4-year member of Colorado College’s Women’s Basketball Team and spent 27 months in Cameroon working as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer with the US Peace Corps. 

I blow my whistle and wait for my players to come running, a few sprint over, a few run the opposite direction and others walk slowly to me at center court.  I begin discussing the afternoon’s practice schedule and introducing the basketball skills on which we will be focusing.  One child starts dribbling a basketball and then another pokes one of his teammates and they start laughing.  Attention quickly slips away from me as the coach and I blow my whistle again, filling the gym and the players’ ears with the high-pitched sound that quickly snaps their attention back.

Who knows what respect means?  “Treating someone how they want to be treated,” one child states.  Ok, great answer and are you demonstrating respect towards your coach by dribbling your basketball or by distracting your teammates while your coach is speaking, I ask?  “No,” they answer in unison.  How do we demonstrate our respect? I begin to describe why it is important that we respect the coach by listening while the coach is speaking.  At PeacePlayers-Cyprus we see the basketball court as a perfect training ground to teach positive life skills and to develop the character of our participants, not only their basketball specific skills.  Just as we have training programs to teach our players basketball skills we also need a plan to teach the life skills we desire our participants to develop.

Ashley taking a timeout from drills for a teaching moment

Ashley taking a timeout from drills for a teaching moment

We recently have developed the vision for our players to become leaders and global citizens through stressing such values as: self-confidence, goal setting, proactivity, responsible decision-making, respect, trust, inclusion, and diversity.  With these key values agreed upon as essential priorities from our coaches and staff, we developed a structured curriculum teaching each of these values. PPI-CY staff members will implement the curriculum during PeacePlayers’ practices through basketball drills and other non-formal education methods.   Each month we will focus on a different value within the curriculum, the coaches’ role will be to continue to stress the value throughout drills and conversations with participants and parents.

What had previously been informal teaching moments, such as the lesson on respect, will now be taking life in our formalized curriculum.  We at PPI-CY are excited about this new curriculum and the opportunity that it presents to impact our players’ character and way of being on and off the basketball court.


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