by Play Global!, www.play-global.org
Play Global put a human face on its coach education program when Tom Gillespie visited Uganda last month. Over nine days, Tom worked with a total of 75 coaches, both new and experienced. He helped them run clinics for more than 300 children, from age 5 up to 18 years old. Most were new to the game.
This visit brought Tom to three very different communities:
In Kampala, Tom was based at St. Peter’s School. He worked with coaches and players from local ball clubs, taught Congolese refugee children, and trained the founder of a baseball program for young prison inmates.
In Soroti, no baseball field was available. So Tom and three coaches from the education program set up their clinic in a public park. They had to play around the cattle, but 70 girls and boys participated, along with 20 young coaches.
Kakira and Jinja, in sugar cane country, were the last stop of the tour. With help from Canadian softball coach Joni Frei, Tom ran a three day coaching clinic for teachers from Kakira schools. They put their skills to work by teaching fundamentals to a new group of kids each day. Tom also went to nearby Jinja, where he worked with 60 players and 10 coaches near the shores of Lake Victoria.
In all these places, baseball gave kids living in poverty a chance to have fun, to learn, and to build confidence in themselves. By training coaches in Uganda, we hope to bring baseball to these kids for years to come.
We especially thank the Pearl of Africa Series for making this trip possible.