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My Indian experience: Working in sport and development

Copyrights: Peter Swinford

My Indian experience: Working in sport and development

Peter Swinford accounts his experience working with Pro Sport Development in India.

I have always had a passion for sport since an early age. When growing up in the UK I played a number of sports competitively with a special interest in cricket and tennis. What I loved about playing sport was that it gave me the opportunity to challenge myself against others along with making new friends and being active. As I have grown up, I have tried to share this passion for sport with young people as I feel it is important for them to be active and have opportunities to express themselves through sport.

To pursue this aim I began coaching different sports to primary school children along with completing my Level 2 Cricket Coaching qualification. I also completed a Bachelors in Sport Science and a Masters in Sports Performance and decided that I wanted to become a Strength & Conditioning (S&C) coach. This led me to completing an S&C internship at Northants County Cricket Club in the UK. Alongside this I worked as a cricket coach for the youth county sides.

Whilst I had enjoyed my work up until date, I was looking for something that would connect my passion in youth sport to my education. It is around this time I heard through a friend about an organisation called Pro Sport Development which works with underprivileged youth in India using sport. In November 2015, I decided to go to India to assist Pro Sport Development in their various programmes. I was involved in developing curriculums, developing and delivering training programmes for coaches and overseeing the delivery of the community sports programme, which delivers a sport based curriculum to underprivileged children in the slum schools of Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

Part of my work involved organising events for the children involved in the programme. The events included celebrating International Women’s Day, International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) along with running sport days at the schools. I was responsible for planning and organising with the coaches’, interactive activities, workshops and games which would engage the children and teach them about the values of the day we were celebrating. A favourite moment for me was on International Women’s Day; we gave a few girls from the programme the opportunity to lead their favourite game to their peers. All of the girls were able to lead and deliver a fun game and even added some creative rule changes that I and the coaches would never think of. This showed me that the programme we were running was helping to give these children an opportunity to express themselves and become young confident leaders.

Living in Bhubaneswar was a complete culture shock at first, having to learn about a different culture where the food, language and lifestyle was completely foreign to me. I managed to adapt by throwing myself into the work and getting to know the coaches and local environment. This experience helped me to understand that each country has a different culture and in order to successfully live and work in a different country you must embrace that culture and learn from it.

Working on the projects taught me that sport and physical activity can be used not only to increase physical activity levels and teach sporting skills but also to help develop sporting values e.g. leadership, communication, teamwork, fair play and gender equality, all of which can assist in the children’s holistic development. The role also helped me to develop professionally, teaching me important skills including communicating with colleagues/stakeholders, overseeing staff, being organised and developing writing skills.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team].

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 16:24