Sports trainer program aims to instill leadership skills in young children

January 15, 2019

Samar Yahya

Saudi Gazette


The Youth Sports Leadership Program is a partnership between the British Council and the Saudi Ministry of Education, delivered through the Youth Sports Trust International. The three-year program is designed to teach young people essential skills and behaviors such as teamwork, leadership and persistence in achieving a goal.

Shaye Aldowayan, a middle school teacher who took part in both the first phase and second, is now a certified national trainer. Aldowayan said: "There were many valuable skills that myself and my fellow teachers gained during our training but one of the things that stood out the most is the new techniques in giving lectures, teambuilding and my own self development. These valuable skills are great and there are many more. You can't do justice to the true impact of the training in words, but it will be evident in the future in how the next generation of students will grow and learn.”

Aldowayan implemented the program after attending the first phase of the program, in his school. "I started working with the students with my training immediately. The first thing I benefited from as a teacher was that it gave me the ability to discover the talents and abilities of my students before they were even aware of them.

"Consequently, I was also able to identify many youth sport leaders at school. Through sports you gain the ability to learn firsthand skills you can't through other subjects, skills like leadership."

He said the impact on the students was almost immediate, and as well as exhibiting new talents and abilities, a lot of students excelled in organization, in helping with instructing and leading their fellow students and general self-growth and confidence.

The impact on him reflected positively on the students and gave them the freedom to bring out their own skills that were not seen before.

After completing the first phase of the program, Aldowayan was very happy with what was introduced and how it affected the students.

"We both had a great sense of achievement and felt like there was more opportunity to think and be creative with the lessons learned through the program," he said.

On the importance of encouraging sports at schools especially on younger children, Aldowayan explained that it is essential to students and their development.

He works with middle school students and for them and for younger children it is important to encourage sports and stimulation through sports. They are able to grow in confidence and assert themselves through sports.

"When I first began teaching in middle school, I realized everyone wanted to prove themselves and, with encouragement, the students began to work and to think of new and exciting ideas and creative ways to make their activities more stimulating," Aldowayan said.

In the first phase of the training program, 118 sports coaches and teachers and 282 students have taken part in the project across 60 Saudi schools. The program works by training teachers and coaches in learner-centered coaching and mentoring skills that help them enable 15- to 16-year-old students to become "young sports leaders". These students then go on to further develop their leadership skills by organizing sports festivals in their cities and communities. This challenge helps the students to develop essential skills for the future such as teamwork, communication, leadership as well as building their confidence in these areas.

The National Sport Trainer training is the second phase of this program, which trains local trainers and coaches from the first phase to become certified sports trainers. Teachers learn how to facilitate adult learning and became ready to continually train more teachers and coaches across the country in order to spread more awareness and understanding of the special skills and techniques needed to effectively engage students with sports.

Now there are 81 male and female national trainers ready to train more local trainers in this wonderful program. The program covers a multitude of public schools in the central, western and eastern regions.

January 15, 2019
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