About 30 participants attended the three-day health and teaching workshop, Hoops for Health that started on Tuesday.
The programme is being spearheaded by the International Basketball Federation (F.I.B.A.) and the President of the Samoan Basketball Federation, Pauga Talalelei Pauga.
It aims to accredit coaches and help teach basketball skills to teachers and young players. It also aims to promote health.
After the workshop, the participants, for the next nine weeks, will visit more than 10 schools in Apia to teach basic basketball skills.
“We expect to have good coaches and we also want to promote the game in Samoa starting from a junior level,” Pauga said.
“We choose schools around Apia because they are exposed to a lot of sports, so they get a lot of opportunities. In the other areas, they hardly have those opportunities.
“Except for the few schools in town that are showing interest, basketball is not this popular. We selected schools that have an easy access to hoops.
“This is the first workshop we have in combination with Health Care, we did before some trainings for coaches.”
F.I.B.A. also carries out the programme in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
“Right now it is all about educating our coaches to feel confident to go out and deliver the programme. Part of this is the health messaging,” Australian coach, Joel Kahlu said. Mr. Kahlu runs the programme in Samoa.
“The Samoan Basketball Federation got some Pacific sports partnerships to deliver this programme, which is funded through Australian Aid.
“It helps promote and grow the sports in the country, but also we will try to use basketball as a tool to make some changes in terms of lifestyle.
“A big problem in Samoa is obviously diet. The reason we do this programme is based on research on health statistics. Particular in the pacific 75 percent deaths are related to non-communicable diseases. We can use basketball as a way to reduce those numbers. It is not only about promoting basketball.”
Joel Khalu added: “To have 30 educated and accredited Hoops for Health coaches out in the schools is going to be fantastic for basketball.
“It is very exciting, huge and basketball is one of those sports that can really change a community. It is a great time for the sport. The federation here is much more organised. All signs are looking positive.”
Participant, Ryan Paia, 20, attended his first national tour in 2014 in Fiji, where they won a Silver medal.
“The workshop helps me to become a better coach. We will go to schools and teach the young kids certain things I already know, but the specific skills, it is very good for me to learn from different points,” Mr. Paia said.
“It is absolutely worth it to attend the workshop. In the past two days, we learnt how to observe the kids first and how we approach the kids to have more fun.”