PPI-NI Coaches Development Programme (CDP) participants have been taking part in a series of trainings on positive youth coaching and Coaching the PeacePlayers Way. Recently, we partnered with Belfast Community Sports Development Network (BCSDN) to deliver a 3-day multi-sports camp over Easter break. The idea behind the camp was to train our senior LDP participants to plan and deliver the sport sessions while weaving in cross-community themes into their coaching. Nora & AJ who are part of the CDP programme share their experience leading up to and coaching in the camp.
Over Easter break, I had the opportunity to coach in a multi-sports camp for young children, ages 7-11. The camp was led by my fellow participants involved in the Coaches Development Program (CDP) and young leaders from the Belfast Community Sports Development Network (BCSDN). Between the trainings leading up to the camp, and coaching in the camp, the whole experience was definitely worthwhile.
The Friday before the camp was set to begin, all the CDP youth coaches came together to prepare for the camp. The training gave us the opportunity to bond with the other young leaders leaders from BCSDN, who we had never met before. The day was filled with fun activities, and the coaches from PeacePlayers and BCDSN taught us the skills we needed to coach the young participants in the different sports that the camp had to offer. To give you an idea, we coached Olympic handball, basketball, rugby, Gaelic football, soccer, and rounders (a variation of baseball).
Each day of the camp was packed with games and drills for different sports. The participants arrived each morning full of energy, with smiles on their faces and made it easy for us to deliver each session. During our debrief at the end of each session, we found ways to tie in a cross-community theme to the games. Themes like teamwork and communication came through in a lot of the activities that we did. This opportunity helped us develop our confidence when leading a session, and gave us knowledge on how to organise and plan for a session the PeacePlayers way. From teaching the young participants the basics of rugby, gaelic football, soccer, basketball and handball, to hanging out with them during breaks, I really enjoyed the whole experience.
I was given a lovely hand drawn card from one of the participants I had been coaching throughout the camp! The camp, especially the last day was filled with high energy as participants seemed to get more excited and get into the games! As the camp began to come to a close, everyone came together to play a game of rounders. I loved playing this as we got to spend the last few minutes of camp together with everyone! It was sad to see camp come to a close but it was an amazing which I will be grateful for!
However, this not the end of my coaching experience as every Wednesday night at BIL (Belfast Interface League, PeacePlayers-NI after-school cross-community basketball programme), I am an assistant coach for North Belfast Junior Boys! So far, I have had an amazing experience coaching these boys, and it has been fulfilling watching them improve each week. I’m so proud of how much their basketball has improved and how open they are to building relationships with their fellow teammates who they wouldn’t have met if it wasn’t for PeacePlayers! I’m excited to see what the next few weeks of BIL holds, and what fun I will have with the Junior Boys!
We would like to thank PeacePlayers for providing us with these amazing coaching opportunities!