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MY CAC EXPERIENCE || Coaches Across Continents 2017

Palo, Leyte - When I heard the Coaches Across Continents (CAC)would be conducting their 3rd Coaches Seminar here in the Philippines, I felt very excited as it would be my first time to join the programme. Together with the FundLife team of 4 Coaches and 2 Junior Coaches, I joined the 5-day CAC Coaches Seminar held last 21-25 August 2017 in Palo, Leyte. I was then fortunately selected to assist in their seminar in Cebu the following week.

On the first day of the CAC Coaches’ Seminar in Tacloban, the participants’ attendance was lower than I expected, but I focused on the experience and learnings that I will get in the programme - and it did not disappoint. Coaches Charlie and Prateek were very good and they engaged us in fun games. They started with the activity “Circle of Friends” as an icebreaker, and also for us to get to know each other better. As the session went on, I was amazed at how they were able to turn simple games into very fun and informative sessions. We also learned more about different players, like Martha and how she became a role model for Gender Equity. From there, we were taught more drills, like Martha Skills, Martha Health and Wellness, Martha for Conflict Prevention, Old Trafford Tag, Line games, Indonesia for attitudes, and Martha for Gender Equity Endgame. The first training day was full of fun and learnings.

The following day, our champion of the day was Ronaldo and we focused on Children’s Rights. It got more and more exciting - we learned different variations of the drills we were taught on the first day, such as the Circle of Friends for warm-up. Another example is the combination of Ronaldo Skills with Martha Skills, which gave good focus on basic football skills. The other drills we had were Ronaldo health and wellness, 95% football, Ronaldo for Children’s Rights, 3-in-a-row, and Gazza Support System. I only heard of all of these drills for the first time, and they were more about social issues like alcohol abuse and drug addiction, both of which are causes for child abuse.

Days three and four focused on the main social and health problems here in the Philippines, such as the HIV/AIDS. CAC, through their drills such as HIV like Hands against HIV, Condom Tag, and Can Ballack see HIV, made us easily understand how we can prevent HIV. I understood more deeply this social problem and the others, such as Drug Abuse, Bullying, and Proper Garbage Disposal, through the practical application of them in football. I also learned that, as a coach you have a responsibility to be aware of them.

On the last day, Coach Charlie and Coach Prateek asked us to make our own variation of any of the past drills we had or make our totally own drill, and present it to the group. I made my own game/drill with the help of my partner, Coach Bart from Gawad Kalinga. The drill that we made is all about Environment and Proper Waste Disposal. Coach Charlie was pleased with our drill and said we have a future in coaching. :)

When I was asked to join Coaches Charlie and Prateek deliver the seminar in Cebu, not as a participant but as an assistant coach, I was so shocked but got very excited as well. I thought that this would really test whether I learned from the seminar we just had.

I left Friday night Tacloban-Ormoc 7pm-9:30pm, Ormoc-Cebu 12midnight-7am. I arrived at Cebu Carmen around 7am and rode another van to the main city. I got in the venue 11am, I was 1 hour late. In short, it was a long journey to get there, but like the quote said, “It’s better late than never”.

I had mixed emotions when I got to the venue. I was happy because there were a lot of participants, and at the same time, I was shocked because almost all the participants were older than me. Coach Charlie introduced me, and it felt good to be welcomed and introduced as one of the Facilitating coaches and not as a participant. We then proceeded to the training. I just assisted them in the morning, but in the afternoon, Coach Charlie and Coach Prateek asked me to choose one drill to facilitate. I got very nervous at first because I was coaching coaches that are older and positioned higher than me. But Coaches Charlie and Prateek helped me overcome those nerves. Truly, you will see how professionals they are, especially in delivering and interacting with different types of coaches. I coached the Drill called Gazza Support System that focuses on Different Vices that can be acquired in the communities, like Alcohol Drinking, and two other drills - ‘Can Ballack see HIV?’ and ‘Ballack Goes to Goal’ - which both teaches about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

Coaches Across Continents really helped me a lot as a coach. It gave me more ideas on how I can conduct my drills and sessions. I also got the chance to share my knowledge and experiences as a coach. Most importantly, the whole CAC experience gave me another perspective in football - that football is not just a game but could be also a tool to teach children social issues occurring in their community and help them easily understand even the most complicated issues. Football can be a way of molding little minds to be better persons. And, as coaches, we can be instruments of change to these children and their communities. Overall, it’s really a great and fruitful experience, and I would never say no to other opportunities like this. As I am already working with FundLife as a Football for Life Coach, I can definitely use this experience to improve my performance as a coach. CAC’s work can greatly support our work here in Tacloban.

I’d like to thank Fundlife International, especially to Sir Marko Kasic our Founder, who chose me and believed that I am capable to assist in the CAC program in Cebu; Pandoo Foundation who helped organised the event in Cebu; to Guisseppe FC who organized the event, especially to Ma’am Rachel Genco, who warmly welcomed me to her home; to Coaches Charlie and Prateek who gave me the opportunity to teach, taught me a lot, and inspired me as well; and of course, the FundLife - Football for Life Coaches, my fellow coaches, and players who participated in the program, both in Cebu and Tacloban. Thank you, and I hope to see you again.

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