Supporting South Africa's Sport and Life Skills Coaches

Football has played a big part in both Marie-Louise’s and Troy’s life, the game and their coaches have had a profound effect on their physical and mental states and development of social skills. After developing a best practise sports coaching resource and testing it with coaches, the pair are seeking ways to distribute this resource to empower coaches within rural communities, to help more young people to succeed and thrive.

Troy and Marie-Louise set out to help young people to develop physical and social skills through sport, set goals, and give them the opportunity to practice skills such as teamwork and discipline, whilst having fun playing the game. They also set out to connect grassroots coaches, NGOs, and schools within the rural areas of KZN and distribute resources on best practise coaching; so that coaches could improve their coaching skills to further benefit the youth teams they work with.

During the trip, the pair met with several schools, sport related NGOs, soccer coaches and representatives of soccer clubs from the Premier Soccer League. Through these semi-structured interviews, they identified that coaches in rural communities have passion and experience but lack structure and specific skills to suitably coach and nurture players. Therefore, they shifted their priorities towards ‘coaching coaches’ instead of young people, which involved finishing a resource booklet on coaching football and life skills and finding a network to distribute this through.

They met several individuals and organisations also aiming to connect coaches of all levels together. They plan to keep the relationships they formed going, so that they can return to South Africa in coming years to continue their project. Troy and Marie-Louise also tested their resource booklet material by running short coaching sessions with children and coaches.