The participants in our Coaches for Reconciliation program (CCT) all came together for a retreat on handling conflict situations within the basketball setting. The two-year program was started last year in aims of training coaches in conflict resolution education to bridge divides through basketball. In the past year the CCT participants, which come from both within the PeacePlayers program and outside the organization, completed and received their basketball certification, first aid training, and began sessions on conflict education. By the end of the two years, the students will receive a diploma from Zinman College at the Wingate Institute, a reputable sports education institution in Israel. Currently, the student coaches are taking language courses to equip them with basic language skills to use in mixed team settings. They are also completing practicum hours to practice their new skill sets with youth from PeacePlayers.
During the weekend retreat two guest lecturers came to address how to deal address conflict situations within sports. Dror Rubin, one of the lecturers, used participants’ experiences as coaches to structure the mediation workshop. By breaking out into groups and discussing the real life scenarios, the student coaches were able to exchange ideas and attempt to troubleshoot the difficulties they faced. Oren, a Jewish participant in the program, said, “it was great and helpful to discuss one of the problems I had with my team.” Through the workshop Oren was able to role-play the situation with the other participants in attempts to come up with a solution with the guidance of Dror. “Since the retreat, I was able to go back and solve the problem. Now the player is back on the team,” says Oren.
Giving the participants real life applicable skills was one of objects of the retreat and of the program. As mentioned before, the participants are enrolled in a language study of either Arabic or Hebrew and are completing practicum hours to gain experience in working in mixed group settings. Learning to communicate, even if on a basic level, with all team members is an asset for the student coaches because it encourages team inclusion. During the retreat, the student coaches participated in a mock Twinning to prepare them for their practicum. To encourage creative juices, the participants also created and demonstrated Twinning drills for different age groups and received feedback for the drill. For Odai, a Palestinian PeacePlayers participant in the program, the retreat “helped me have more ideas on how to build trust between mixed players so they can be united, and how to avoid possible problems by being proactive and ready for them.”