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Coaching Abroad: Teaching Hockey In South Africa
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Coaching abroad is an excellent way to spend your gap year if you are looking for a career in sports coaching. The opportunity will teach you leadership skills, give you experience working with children and enable you to see another part of the world with a rich sporting heritage and culture. Teaching hockey to local children from the townships of Port Elizabeth, South Africa and the surrounding areas is one such opportunity to test your skills.

What is involved?

The role as a volunteer hockey coach involves organising, running and supervising all training and hockey matches in the local townships and schools. This begins with setting up clinics and training sessions in the surrounding area and providing hockey equipment to the local schools. The volunteer will be teaching the rudiments of the game including, stick control, passing, shooting and tackling to children from all ages through a mixture of training exercises, trial matches and tournaments. The aim of this is to provide the children with practice of structured training and playing as a team, which they may not have experienced before and the opportunity to play the sport they love.

For someone with little experience of coaching this may seem like a daunting task, but volunteers are supported every step of the way by local sports staff and other volunteers who will offer advice on coaching techniques exercises and making the most of your experience when coaching abroad. The experience is a rewarding one; the local children are very enthusiastic and will love the team building activities and competitive games offered. Volunteers are also required to scout especially skilled and dedicated players for playing professionally at local sports academies.

During the first few weeks the emphasis is on developing relationships with the local children, schools and staff, it is also a brilliant time for the volunteer to build their confidence levels coaching abroad in a new and different environment. Once settled in the volunteer is able to implement their own coaching techniques, exercises and watch the kids they taught play in tournaments, matches and competitions.

Coaching abroad is an amazing experience for both experts and novices of the sport, with the responsibilities tailored to the coach’s skills and abilities. A novice may work closely with schools sports staff to begin with and an expert may be expected to dive in at the deep end.

Hockey in South Africa

In recent Olympic tournaments, the South African hockey team have shown a wealth of talent and recent successes at this level and at other levels has seen the passion for hockey in South Africa grow considerably. Sport in the country is often underfunded and the status of hockey compared to other national sports such as football, rugby and cricket means it receives even less funding. Coaching abroad and similar initiatives are seen as a way to offer inclusive training and opportunities to hockey lovers from poorer backgrounds.


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