Athletes and coaches participate in teaching sports skills
Athletes and coaches across various sporting disciplines are presently taking part in a training seminar organized by the Belize National Sports Council, in collaboration with facilitators from Northern Illinois University. The group is learning the implementation of critical life skills through sports. This afternoon a press conference was held at the ITVET to introduce the media to the Belizean Youth Sport Coalition Project.
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Dr. Paul Wright, Professor, NIU
“The focus of this training is really on how to use sports as a vehicle. We think of it as a vehicle to do more than sports to them; to teach them life skills that they can use in other parts of their lives. So for instance things like respecting the rights and feelings of others…making good decisions, leadership; these are things that can be taught through this experience, practiced in this sport experience and discussed directly. And then we can also directly help you see how you can transform that idea or apply it in other parts of your life. So a young person that might be struggling in school with discipline, but has learned how to develop discipline and persistence and effort on the court. How can the coach help them see and make those connections? So that this cannot just enhance their sport experience and make them a better player, but how can it help them in other parts of their lives and in the future. So that’s really the primary focus of what we are doing here that’s different. We are trying to give people who already know youth development and coaching some very specific strategies to put those two areas together to integrate them. That’s our major thrust with the training. The state department in the U.S. has a sports united grant program and every year they list several countries they are interested in building collaborations with. So when I was ready to write this proposal, Belize was one of eight to twelve countries that were listed as potential partners and we looked at several different factors including proximity, language, feasibility and then also what countries did our university have partnerships with already. And it turned out that our university had an ongoing relationship with the University of Belize and so we had some connections to build from, some relationships to build from and once we started talking with folks and especially Miss Crawford, we found out that the timing was so right. She talked to us about the sports policy, the development policy and the fact that there was so much attention and initiative right now in this area, it just seemed like a beautiful potential for partnership. So that’s why we decided to work with Belize.”
The Belizean Youth Sport Coalition Project will run for a period of three years.