“Miss, can you dunk?”

Posted By: KaylaMorrissey
Posted On: November 7th, 2018
Attending: NUI Galway

Starting up with coaching kids in Galway has been fantastic. Many scholars are coaching for specific club teams, but Amy, Tom, and I are getting a unique chance to do a lot of consistent work in schools. The first day at all the schools, I asked the kids how they felt about basketball. Many of them admitted that they hadn’t had too much exposure to the game, but they were very excited about the sport and the new challenge! I really enjoy the coaching at the schools, as we really have the opportunity to get the kids excited about basketball at a young age. One day, a kid asked me, “Miss, can you dunk?” Luckily, the hoops were at a modest 7 feet tall, so I didn’t disappoint! I’m hoping that some of the kids end up sticking with basketball and joining clubs because of their experiences with us!

A teacher at one of the schools told me that having basketball sessions actually improves the kid’s attendance. I was shocked to hear this. At one school in particular, there are some kids from disadvantaged backgrounds that end up with somewhat frequent school absences. While it’s not good that the kids miss school, I’m happy that my basketball sessions with them can provide some incentive or excitement to make it to school. Classes are very important for kids at their age, and I’m glad I can use basketball as a vehicle to encourage the kids to do well in the classroom.

I like to think that I’m teaching the kids a little something about basketball, but I definitely know that I am learning and growing from being with these kids. With just a few weeks of coaching under my belt, I already find myself becoming a more effective and confident communicator. I’m also learning about how to be patient and understanding when a kid doesn’t quite grasp something and how to help the kids resolve conflicts. I try to incorporate a couple of games into each session for the kid’s enjoyment, and sometimes their competitive nature really comes out. The first few times I had kids get into arguments, I just tried to break up the conflict and have them move on. I’m starting to realize the importance helping the kids actually resolve their conflicts and apologize to the other person if necessary. The coaching is definitely helping me become a better communicator and leader, and I’m looking forward to taking what I learn into future coaching.

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