In the hope of boosting passion for basketball, former students from the National University of Tainan’s Department of Physical Education have been volunteering to coach elementary-school students at after-school basketball clubs.
Lo Yu-wei (羅友威) and Huang Po-wei (黃柏維), graduates from the department, said they started teaching the sport at elementary school clubs two years ago.
Huang and Lo said that most of those who volunteer as coaches were in college basketball teams themselves. After graduating, some have found work as lifeguards or coaches at fitness centers and now several of them are also helping to promote basketball and support young children as they start playing the sport — the volunteers say it is their shared love of basketball that motivates them to share their time.
“Whether they can play basketball well or not doesn’t really matter; what matters is that they have fun while playing it,” Huang said.
However, Huang and Lo said seeing young children become better at hoop-shooting while also grasping some of the sport’s key moves gave them a sense of accomplishment.
“It’s like giving them the hope that it is possible to become something akin to Jeremy Lin (林書豪),” they said, referring to the first Taiwanese-American basketball player to ever play point-guard for the NBA’s New York Knicks when he started with the squad in February.
“We also hope to see basketball become a more widely played sport,” Huang said, adding that the game is not just about sport, but also a way of expanding social relationships and developing life skills.
Huang and Lo said that kids who think they play better tend to keep the ball and run a solo show on the court “and we have to tell them that sometimes other players on their teams also have strengths and specialities,” adding that it is important to ingrain good concepts in the minds of elementary-school children.
Many kids today have no siblings, so they do not really know how to interact with children their age, Huang and Lo said, adding that playing basketball helps teach younger children how not to snub other people and work in a team.
It is encouraging to see children who have been learning for the first year come back for the second and then even ask how they might make it onto the school team in junior-high school, they added.
Although Lo and Huang, initiators of the club coaching program, are both going to Australia to work and for further studies, they said they are getting some of the junior students in the department to look out for the clubs while they are gone.
“We hope to see that the club coaching is still going strong when we come back,” they said.