A Range of Ranges
September 16th 2016. CAC Board Member Judith Gates writes about our first ever program in Georgia with the Lagodekhi Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport.
Home of the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve, close to the Azerbaijan border, Lagodekhi is a small town in Georgia nestled among scenic mountains and valleys. It was here that Coaches Across Continents had the privilege of working with a partner group comprised of a very disparate group of coaches. Ranging in age from the mid seventies to the mid teens, ranging in sports coached from Tai Kwando to chess, including basketball, football and wrestling, the group brought together a range of experiences and expertise as wide and varied as CAC has ever encountered.
What a great opportunity to demonstrate that a curriculum based on Self-Directed Learning is relevant irrespective of the sport being coached. What a useful opportunity to explore the generic role of coaches to use sport for social impact rather than focusing exclusively upon creating elite athletes.
This was a thoughtful and challenging group. Having traditionally used their obvious deep knowledge of their sport of choice to nurture the elite, the participants readily turned their attention to alternative perspectives. ‘Why do coaches coach?’ was replaced by the even more encompassing question, ‘Why do young people play sport?” Words like ‘fun’ and ‘social’ were given greater emphasis than ‘winning’, ‘tactical’ and ‘strategic’.
As the days progressed it was satisfying to see a shift in thinking and practice from a skills based approach to one which incorporated creativity and the opportunity for problem solving. By the final session the group readily signed their names to the CAC’s Child Protection policy, which both protects and develops a child’s sense of self worth. And along the way together we became familiar with a number of CAC games, shared traditional Georgian games and, most importantly, created new games to develop Self-Directed Learning and problem solving skills.
Coaches may focus on differing sports, but we learned that every coach can also focus upon developing the individual and thus enhancing the community.