Two University of Brighton students put their learning into practice during a trip to The Gambia. Sport Coaching BSc(Hons) students Matt Ewing and Megan Hill tell us about their trip.
Matt reflects on his time there
“After returning back from The Gambia and having a small chance to reflect on the past week has been a real eye-opener. I can confidently say it was one of the best experiences I have been a part of and has become an integral factor in my development as a sport coaching student. I embraced such a simple yet effective methodology, and met some great people along the way.
“Before travelling out there my past coaching experience had been very limited. I had rarely worked with kids, which made it slightly more challenging. I feel like I really immersed myself in the culture which was hugely important and in doing so, left with no regrets.
“Because I didn’t know what to expect, I started every day with an open mind and exposed myself to new ideas. My only real coaching experience previously had been with my placement (working with the elderly) so being able to coach at the opposite end of the spectrum forced me to adapt and learn new skills.
“I did however draw similarities between the two types of coaching I have now been a part of; both involve a holistic style of teaching, which has allowed me to recognise the various activities and values both settings have to offer. Using the Football for Peace methodology, I can now confidently implement some of the games and activities a little closer to home.
“In terms of changing and developing my experience for next time, stepping further out of my comfort zone and coaching different sports in different communities would be great. In saying this, I would also love to have the chance to coach again in Gunjur, not only do you become familiar with your surroundings but you have a chance to bond with the group and act as an ongoing role model for them.
“I’m finding it hard to flaw any part of the experience, only that it wasn’t long enough!”
“The first few days of the trip were spent getting to know the area we would be working and training before beginning to work with the local children.
“A number of sports were being used such as cricket, netball, rugby as well as football, teaching the children the values of trust, respect, responsibility, equity and inclusion. Lots of local games and songs were used as well, lots of new opportunities for the coaches to practice their singing and dancing!
“A small football festival was run on the Thursday with all the children joining together to play against each other to win based on both fair play points and goal difference.”