This week’s blog is brought to you by PeacePlayers-NI International Fellow, Jazz Bishop.
In recent years PeacePlayers Northern Ireland has run a Recreational League for participants to join in on the weekends. Rec League is designed specifically to focus on the sport of basketball to help our participants develop and improve on their basketball skills. It provides them with a space for more advanced training.
But of course with any programming, it always comes with questions such as: what can we do to make it bigger and better? Curricula and Project coordinator, Joanne Fitzpatrick, and I did some thought showering to come up with some new ideas.
The first thing we started with was to give the participants what they truly wanted from PeacePlayers and that was more programming during the summer time. So, with that information, we have extended the Rec League term to go all the way through to September.
The next area we wanted to address was how do we get more participants involved? The first and obvious way to do this was instead of having Rec League only available to our older participants, was to have it available for all age groups we work with. Joanne came up with the next solution to this tricky task. Typically Rec League is at one venue for the entire term, which may be hard for some of our participants to get to. A new element to this term’s Rec League is each weekend we will be rotating around the city. This will give more participants from east, north, south, and west the chance to join if the sessions are closer for them to commute to.
Rec League is where we want participants receive and improve on advanced basketball training, but why stop there? Joanne oversees our Coaches Development Program (CDP), and she came up with the terrific idea of why not try to find a way of combining our CDP and our Basketball Development Program (BDP). After some collaborating, we came up with a format of having one lead coach for a session along with two coordinating coaches and three supporting coaches. The coaches will rotate their roles each week.
On 10th of February we were in North Belfast and we had a great turn out of new participants to join the session. This was the first session our CDP participants were able to design and lead the drills on their own. Even though this was the first time some of the CDP participants were leading a session, they excelled at it! Some of the time during the session I felt quite lost because I wasn’t doing anything; the CDPs had everything under control and running smoothly. It was definitely something to get excited about, to watch our participants work and improve on their skills each week along with our CDPs practicing and improving on their coaching skills. It was very impressive to see how big of a change small adjustments can make.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in joining our Rec League just follow the link below to register. The program runs each Saturday for boys and girls ages 8-18. As I mentioned, the venue rotates around the city each week. In North we will be at Girls Model; East is at Avoniel Leisure Centre; South is at Methodist College; and West is at Shankill Leisure Centre. For more details, click on the link below! We look forward to having you come out and join us!