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Volunteer Sport Coaching Overseas: Sports in South Africa

Sports, School Sports in South Africa - Mentor local children

Children growing up in the townships have few facilities for stimulating sports. Opportunities are severely limited for both playing sports and learning new sports, despite the best efforts of local volunteers and community leaders. Parents are desperate to keep their kids off the streets out of school hours, away from drug usage and peer pressure.

Giving their children the opportunity to participate in sports allows them to learn important lessons in working as a team, anger management and prioritising a healthy lifestyle.

Volunteers can help to create a sporting environment and provide much needed support to local staff and volunteers both in schools, at after school clubs, or on our water sports project. Many schools within the townships are open to after school activities; coaching basketball, football, softball, cricket, rugby - almost every sport you can think of is going on somewhere!

All our sports placements in South Africa require that volunteers dedicate a full day to their placement, as such it is regrettably not possible to mix and match school and community sports with water sports.

Whichever project you choose, your initiative and enthusiasm can always be put to good use helping to develop sports initiatives and programmes in Cape Town. In order for children to get the most out of sports lessons as well as after school clubs, they need to be well thought out, with lots of good ideas for lesson plans to get the kids thinking, working as a team and improving their fitness while having fun, and volunteers are vital to provide a fresh stream of ideas to enable this.

Volunteering as a School Sports Coach in South Africa

Sports, School Sports in South Africa - View from table mountain

Cape Town has a wide variety of schools, whose facilities and demographic largely mirrors the wealth and background of the areas in which they are based. Projects Abroad volunteers centre their efforts on the Cape Flats Townships, working with underprivileged communities in the Vrygrond, Grassy Park and Lavender Hill area.

The schools here are all government run, and as such, physical education has regrettably been removed from the curriculum due to budget cutbacks. Government-funded schools no longer offer this subject because they cannot afford to pay a sports teacher out of their own small budget. For this reason, volunteers are invaluable to these schools as they can provide the important physical education lessons without the extra costs.

As a Projects Abroad volunteer coach, you won't need previous coaching experience, but you will need a real passion for sports, and the drive and initiative to lead a sports session with a group of children without always having the backup of another teacher. Volunteers will often coach together, and will have the full support of the teaching staff, though both human and material resources are in short supply.

Don't worry if you don't have UEFA - grade football coaching skills or aren't an Olympic athlete - simply organizing a game of rounders or running a circuit training session can help these children improve their fitness levels or ability to work as a team. The programme could also combine elements of physical education with other aspects of health, such as nutrition and personal hygiene. You've got an almost completely blank canvas and a captive audience of children eager to get involved!

After spending a tiring day at school until 2.30pm, volunteers on a school sports placement in Cape Town may also wish to help out with after school activities that run in the afternoons from 3-5pm. Many community leaders and schools themselves are keen to have volunteers help out with their after school clubs - there's plenty to suit each volunteers' speciality; whether it's football, basketball, rugby or cricket. These present a real challenge for coaches, with anything from 5 to 30 kids turning up each day with hugely varied skill levels and little regularity. The one thing the children all share is a love for sport and a real desire to get involved, and whatever your particular sport, by helping to keep these clubs going, you'll be making a real contribution.

This project is available for two weeks if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period. Volunteers joining this project for just two weeks are likely to work together with a longer term volunteer.

 

Volunteering as a Water Sports Coach in South Africa

Sports, School Sports in South Africa - View over Muizenberg beach

Cape Town is famous for its surf spots, and this attracts many volunteers who can already surf and those keen to learn. Surfing is also a great way of bringing young children into a learning environment and giving them a passion for sport. Children who grow up in the townships may never have been to the beach, despite its proximity, and most certainly won't be able to swim. By organising regular trips to the beach with these children, and gradually teaching them to swim and then to surf, you will be giving them an opportunity and a new passion that they may never have had access to otherwise. Having fun and learning is the aim and our projects need volunteers to help achieve this.

Projects Abroad volunteers work alongside a programme in Muizenberg, not far from where our other teaching and care placements are based. The Surf School aims to bring "at risk" youth groups and street children into the surf culture by providing them with equipment, and gradually teaching them to swim and then to surf. Once introduced to this learning environment, the children are also taught vital life skills, decision making and have the opportunity to learn basic numeracy and literacy skills.

Volunteers do not need to be experienced surfers, but do need to be strong swimmers. Volunteers will be given the opportunity to learn to surf, while simultaneously working with at risk youth from neighbouring Cape Town townships. We are looking for volunteers who are keen and enthusiastic to get involved with mentoring and teaching the children. You should also be prepared to help with renting out and maintaining the surfboards and kit, and all other aspects of this valuable water-sports project. Volunteers will normally spend the day working at the surf-shop and helping with programme logistics, before taking sessions with the children from 3-6pm each day.

This project provides the perfect combination of coaching, learning new skills and providing valuable support to a great community project.
Volunteers need to join the Water Sports project for at least one month.

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