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Helping our Sri Lankan Korfball Friends

In August I had a very interesting and enjoyable day coaching 21 - mostly young - would-be coaches, referees and players in Sri Lanka. It was made especially 'interesting' as only a couple of them spoke English - and most had not played before. Korfball, of course, is an international language so finally everything was fine!

Demonstrations, body language and facial expressions all helped the communication. Additionally I had the help via some translation of Pushpakumara Madurapperuma (Pushpa), the English speaking korfball leader in Sri Lanka. Pushpa had recruited for the day very well...thank you Pushpa!

I was on a holiday for a week in Sri Lanka and had made advance plans that I could spend a day making my own small contribution to Sri Lankan korfball. I would like to dedicate the day to the memory of Adri Zwaanswijk (Swan), the legendary Dutch coach who sadly passed away earlier this year. Swan travelled the world helping develop korfball and this was my very small way of repaying him for the help and friendship he gave me personally. Of course my footprints are tiny compared to his.

My objective for the day was to finish up with some people who could coach beginners, plus some who could referee.

I travelled from Unawatuna (near Galle) in the South West, to Gampaha, just North of Columbo, a 2.25 hour taxi journey, starting at 6.30 in the morning. I arrived to find everything ready for the morning session to start, including the 21 eager Sri Lankans.

I had the primary target of ensuring everyone had fun - without fun people do not come back. I quickly wanted them to play so with the minimum of information they were playing in less than 10 minutes. After playing for around 20 minutes they were then shown the key basics of korfball and how they can be practised. Everyone was very attentive and keen.

At lunchtime I was taken nearby for an enjoyable meal and afterwards returned to spend the afternoon coaching would-be referees - practical training during the matches played by the remaining players. The day finished with the new coaches being given coaching roles with the teams of young players.

I was very grateful for the appreciation shown to me afterwards by all those attending. I was especially pleased - thank you Pushpa! - with the special mug presented to me as a memory of the day. Many photos were taken by me, those attending and their families.

I encourage anyone reading this that finds themself in a country where they can do some good for korfball to get involved. You will have a great time. If you are unsure how to do this contact IKF, the Swan Fund or make contact with me and I will try to help. Why not leave behind your own korfball footprint?

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