Local children learn traditional African games through UCLan sports coaching exchange

Zambian sports coaches recently taught Preston schoolchildren about traditional African games as part of an annual exchange project with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The University welcomed six Zambian sports coaches to Preston for the second year in a row as part of the Zambian Leaders Exchange Project, in partnership with UK Sport International under the International Community Coaching system.

The coaches spent a week in Preston last month working with UCLan sports coaching students, Preston City Council Sports Development and local schools in a bid to share best-practice ideas on coaching at community level and ways to engage with young people through sport.

Pupils and students from Corpus Christi Catholic Sport College and Preston College also spent a day with the African coaches learning about traditional African games.

Cliff Olsson, a senior lecturer from the School of Sport, Tourism and The Outdoors at UCLan, helped to co-ordinate the project.  He said: “We want to continue building our relationship with coaches from the Zambian Leaders Exchange Project, which allows for a reciprocal sharing of best-practice with community coaches in Preston.

“This project is all about coaching at a community level and discussing ideas on the best ways to do this.  It ties in with the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games to increase sport participation across the globe and consider the contributions it can make to improving life quality.”    

During the visit UCLan hosted a one day seminar centred on the International Community Coach Education System (ICES) Initiative, led by UK Sport. 

It brought the Zambian coaches together with local community coaches and sports development managers to discuss and debate issues integral to community coach education.  This included using the sport environment to address and educate young people on development issues such as HIV and Aids, inclusion and gender discrimination.

Priya Samuel, UK Sport’s International Sport Development Manager said: The ICES initiative provides agencies with methodologies to understand the community coach education environment, focusing on a child centred participant, as well as encouraging development of their community coaches. It also allows agencies to share knowledge using a range of international networking forums.”

Andrew Haythornthwaite, Football Development Officer at Preston City Council, added: “We are always delighted to get involved in any work that can benefit our communities in Preston.  This year is a very exciting year for Preston as it has been chosen as the European City of Sport 2012 and it is of course Guild Year too.

“Everything is focused on community spirit and we are looking forward to showing some of this spirit to our African guests.  We are also very keen for our local coaches to learn from the skills and unique abilities the Zambian coaches bring.” 

The project was organised by UCLan, Preston Sports Development and Preston Sports Partnership in conjunction with UK Sport International and the ICES initiative. 

It ties in with UCLan’s existing links with Zambian aid agency ‘Sport in Action’, which also works in partnership with UK Sport International, and for the fourth year running UCLan sports students will spend two weeks in Zambia delivering sports related activities to the local children and surrounding area.   

The trip to Zambia forms a unique module looking at sport, international aid and development that is offered to year two students from the sports studies, sports development, sports management and sports coaching programmes. 

Thanks to the extensive partnerships with the University of Zambia, Nkrumah College of Education and Zambia Sport in Action, the module provides opportunities for UCLan students to help some of the poorest young people in Africa in some of the most challenging environments.