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May '18 25

Play Global places expert coach in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

Press release Play Global

Play Global today, in partnership with the U.S Mission to South Africa, begins the second coach placement in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Zach Graefser is has extensive international experience. He’ll spend the next 17 days in Mdantsane, Umtata, Alfred Nzo, Buffalo City, Mandela Bay, and East London. Zach will work in schools, lead coach education programs, and help initiate partnerships between the fledgling baseball communities in the Eastern Cape. Through these baseball sessions, youth in the Eastern Cape will receive life skills training, while teachers will learn positive coaching techniques and further develop as leaders in the community.

The program is possible thanks to the generous support of the U.S. Consulate General in Cape Town, South Africa. Coach Anthony Bennett initiated the program in March 2017 with two weeks in Mdantsane.

Zach Graefser’s reputation in international baseball is one of success, hard work, and empathy. He has previously volunteered with Play Global in Israel, India, and Ukraine.

Graefser recently returned to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri and took up the position as the Assistant Head Coach of the baseball program at St Louis Community College at Meramec. As Assistant Head Coach at St Louis Community College, Zach’s primary responsibilities include serving as the team’s pitching and catching coach as well as assisting in recruiting and team logistics. Zach has had the honor to coach with and under Scott Goodrich and Tony Dattoli, who both have won Conference Coach of the Year accolades.

In his eight years coaching at Meramec, Zach’s pitching staff played a part in eight consecutive winning seasons for the Archers, and in several seasons they were rated among the top 10 in the country in multiple categories, including ERA and opponent batting average. A number of the players Zach has coached have moved on to play professional baseball. Zach spent the last 4 years living in London, serving as the Pitching Coordinator for Great Britain Baseball and is an instructor in European academies for Major League Baseball International. With Great Britain, Zach coached in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier in Brooklyn, New York, as well as mens, u23 and u18 European Championships. In addition to his coaching work with MLB, Zach also established the MLB European college showcase and pipeline program.

Zach has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Sport Management from Missouri Baptist University, and lives in St. Louis with his wife Christy. Play Global develops respect and teamwork through baseball.

What we do
Play Global teaches baseball to youth and coaches in developing countries and areas of conflict. We use baseball as a way to help children see past their differences, respect others and work as a team. Baseball is new to most of our participants, so they start together as beginners, despite any differences they face off the field. Play Global focuses on kids who are dealing with ethnic, religious, social, or gender inequalities. We help them find common ground through baseball.

Programs:
Coaching clinics for adults
Play Global trains host country coaches on positive coaching techniques as well as playing skills, safety, sportsmanship, and the use and maintenance of equipment.

Player camps for youth
Play Global’s expert coaches train players on baseball skills, safety and sportsmanship. This type of clinic can last from 2 to 7 days and will include donated and/or purchased equipment.

Coach-to-coach mentoring
Play Global links veteran coaches in the U.S., Canada and Europe with less experienced coaches in our host countries. Through online connections and social media, mentors guide new coaches through practice plans, game strategy, and positive coaching techniques.

Research shows that playing sports can help kids learn to resolve conflicts, respect themselves and work with others. Sports can also teach kids healthy lifestyles and promote equality and respect between boys and girls. We want to bring these lessons, and a chance to have fun playing baseball, to kids who can benefit most.

Wherever we go in the world, Play Global strives to make its programs:

  • Collaborative We plan together with our hosts – usually schools or sports associations – to make sure that our programs are effective and suited to the local community.
  • Positive We use positive coaching techniques and our own enthusiasm to make sure that coaches and kids enjoy the game and continue playing long-term.
  • Effective We evaluate our programs to measure our success.

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