Samoa Visit Prepares New Group of Basketball For Good Coaches
APIA, SAMOA - Hoop Dreaming mentor Joel Khalu travelled to Apia last week, delivering workshops on behalf of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and Samoa National Basketball Association (SNBA).
31 participants completed a 3-day Hoops for Health (H4H) coaching course, while 20 of the countries most talented junior players developed their skills in high-performance training sessions held under Khalu’s tutelage in the evenings.
Coach Khalu’s first visit to the Polynesian nation aligns with the FIBA ‘Basketball for Good’ strategy.
The goal of Basketball for Good is to facilitate capable National Federations in delivering high-quality basketball programs, which increase participation and enable participants to become healthy, contributing members of their communities.
Khalu acknowledged the visit was focused on more than just promoting basketball, but also educating Samoan coaches and players on the importance of leading active, healthy lifestyles.
“A massive component of the H4H workshop was to teach coaches on how to deliver sessions in schools and in particular, talking to young people about the important health messages associated,” Khalu said.
“One of the main objectives of H4H is to use basketball as a tool to help make changes in lifestyle. A big challenge in Samoa revolves around diet and poor choices. The reason we are implementing Basketball for Good is based on research and health statistics. Particular in the Pacific, seventy-five percent of deaths are attributed to non-communicable diseases. What we are doing is using basketball as a way to help reduce those numbers.”
Khalu praised Samoan basketball community for their commitment during the week.
“To have 31 new coaches attend over 3-days is certainly a huge achievement and it shows the SNBA are on the right track.”
“Now that we’ve upskilled these leaders with the right tools for coaching success, I’m excited to see the results over the coming months.”
Coaches, for the next 9-weeks, will visit 10-schools to run Hoops for Health sessions. The program will conclude with a 3X3 Basketball Festival between the schools, which will be held in downtown Apia.
Following the 3X3 Basketball Festival, SNBA will then roll out Paradise Ball, another new Basketball for Good initiative aimed at building social cohesion by engaging young people who are currently unemployed or disconnected from school.
“It’s a really exciting time for Basketball in Samoa, there’s lots of positive things happening,” Khalu said.
The Basketball for Good program is made possible through the support of FIBA and Australian Government funding through the Pacific Sports Partnership Program.