Last week we heard from Thando Msweli, one of the most experienced coaches at PPI-SA. But we thought you should have the opportunity to meet ALL our coaches, so we are starting the series PPI-SA – Introducing Our Coaches. Every week you will hear from another of our 20 coaches making noise hear in Durban. Today, we hear from one of the newest additions to PPI-SA’s coaching staff – Samkelo Linda. Samkelo coached his first practice less than a week ago, and it’s very clear that he has a natural ability to relate to and teach youth. He’s quite a guy. Here’s his thoughts and reflections from his 2 weeks at PPI-SA.
My name is Samkelo Linda and I am an 18 year old male from Kwadabeka, South Africa. I matriculated from Sthokozile Sececondary School in 2014. I have been playing basketball since 2010 when I was in grade 8. It has been an amazing experience and I have gained a lot of knowledge and made a number of friends from different walks of life thanks to basketball.
I first got introduced to PeacePlayers by coach Bryan Franklin. He came into my township to check my old team, and when I saw him I just went straight to him. We talked about my team and he told me about PeacePlayers and that I will have an opportunity to coach young kids – I gladly accepted!
Last week I conducted my first try out session at Glenmore Primary School – a school where PeacePlayers has been working for several years. For the first time I was afraid of little kids, I was so nervous I did not know what to expect. But with help coming from coach Ben, coach Mdu, and the school and especially Ms Pillay, I managed to get my nerves away.
We played a lot of games and we taught fundamentals of basketball like passing, dribbling, shooting and the jump stop. The kids were learning fast and there was progression. The experience was really fun because the kids had energy and they were excited for basketball.
After the practice, kids came to me asking if they have made the team or not, which showed me that they really have love for basketball and they really want to be on the team. The selecting was very challenging because coach Mdu and I had to look for good character, teamwork, skills and the love of the game in the kids. It did not matter if a kid is black or white, because the main idea is to unite them and become one family. It was exciting to select the final team and it was sad at the same time because it is hard to decline a little kid but those that made the team were very excited and happy. Even though there were kids that did not get in the team, we ensured them that if they keep on working hard they will definitely make the team in the future.
Being a coach at Glenmore Primary School is a big step for me. I know PeacePlayers has a lot to teach us as young coaches and I am looking forward for it. This will completely change my behavior, I will have to learn to be a leader and one thing I like is I can apply my knowledge of being a leader somewhere else in life.
I have realized that as PPI-SA coaches we are really putting discipline in the kids while we on practice. They might have fun but at the same time there are rules like listening, no bullying, etc. These rules bring change in the kids mindset because in regular life the same rules apply. That is where I see the power of sport on someone’s life.
I am really looking forward for the future with PPI. I have a good feeling we will make history and change lives.