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A Sporting Gap Year
Gap Years in general
Member Name: danwoods
Gap Years in general
Date: 09/01/04, updated on 09/01/04 (213 review reads)
Advantages: Help communities, Adventurous travel, A life times worth of memories
Disadvantages: not applicable
In the developing world, sport is more than competition. It is more than passion. It is a way of life. And as such it bears a heavy influence on the political and social atmosphere of the developing nations. Cricket in India, football in Africa, Rugby in the South Pacific: all have a permeating presence at the heart of their communities, and a pivotal influence over the health and prosperity of their people.
But just as the developing world is constrained by poverty, corruption and a weakness of influence across the world, so sport is inhibited by the same deficiencies. For sport to be accessible, it needs to be affordable. No average African can afford to spend two-weeks? wages on a football. And for football to be fair, it needs to be independent. Corruption is by no means restricted to politics, and politics is by no means restricted from sport, and for sport to succeed in the developing world, it will have to invest in its future rather than offering all the spoils to its less than magnanimous patrons.
For me, as a sports-coaching volunteer, I had the opportunity to build communities through sport, without robbing the benefits. In working with a local Football Academy in Accra, Ghana, I was able to establish relationships with young players who all had the express intention of playing on the world stage. And many of them have the talent. But without physical training, emotional guidance, and financial support, they would be simply incapable of living their dreams. That is why giving them the opportunity to develop both their skills and their character through Gap Sports Abroad was such a privilege.
It is a privilege because there will be no place in the First World to work with such talent with limited experience. I had no formal coaching qualifications, but with enthusiasm, imagination and a general understanding of the game, I was able to offer them constructive advice and new ideas on tactics, skills and their mental approach to tra
ining and competition. And when they have the ability to execute everything that you say, with the minimum of effort, coaching is a delight. There will also be no place in the First World where you receive the same love and praise for your efforts.
But development is not simply about quality of coaching. It is also a matter of motivation and education. Sportsmen and women need the right attitude to succeed as well as the education to understand how and why their ideas count. During my time in Ghana, I worked both as a coach and an English literature teacher, and so had the chance to stimulate minds, as well as sports careers. Gap Sports Abroad worked for me because they offered a broad range of ways to contribute to community development, in sport and beyond. And it is that flexibility and opportunity that made my trip unforgettable.
If you are thinking of a gap year and have a keen interest on sport then you may want to consider what Gap Sports Abroad are offering. The website is: www.gapsportsabroad.co.uk
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