ADF Brings Basketball Skills To Samoan Kids


As part of a program aimed at fostering goodwill and supporting communities beyond national borders, members from the ADF Basketball Association visited Vaiala Beach School in Samoa on March 18.

The visit, which is part of the broader sports training program being carried out from March 18-23 in Samoa, not only promotes physical activity and teamwork but includes accreditation in refereeing, coaching, sports training, first aid, and strength and conditioning.

The program, which incorporates basketball, rugby league and touch football, is a continuation of training and capability building that was previously delivered virtually by the ADF in 2021.

Tala Malaki, Principal of Vaiala Beach School, said her children love sport.

“We haven’t really had a lot to do with basketball, so the kids were really excited to try something new,” she said.

“They have been anxiously waiting for the basketball crew to turn up all day.”

Ms Malaki describes Samoans as basically made for sport.

“The kids just love running around, they love learning new skills, they really love the teamwork that comes with sport,” she said.

“I think it’s a huge cultural thing because in the villages they play sports in the afternoon.

“If you drive out to the villages, you often see volleyball or touch being played.

“It brings communities together and teaches kids teamwork, leadership, all that kind of stuff.”

‘The kids just love running around, they love learning new skills, they really love the teamwork that comes with sport.’

On receiving three large bags of basketballs from the ADF, Malaki said it felt like ‘Christmas Day’.

“The basketballs will help us practise the sport, as sometimes we don’t have the equipment needed to teach the basic skills of dribbling and shooting,” she said.

“Having people that are actually trained and able to pass on their knowledge to our students is more valuable than anything.”

Lieutenant Jo Mercier, one of the ADF basketball coaches, said the clinic was an introduction to basketball for some of the kids.

“We taught them skills, including shooting, lay ups, passing and dribbling,” she said.

“The kids loved it; they didn’t want us to leave and they want us to come back.”

Although Lieutenant Mercier had only been in Samoa for a day, she describes the country as beautiful with beautiful people.

“Everyone’s really welcoming and I’m really excited to be here,” she said.

“Basketball for me is a sense of community. All my best friends and my family are basketballers and we’re connected through our love of sport. It just brings us close and offers opportunities for everyone.

“There are a lot of similarities between us and the Samoans, including a sense of camaraderie, family, teamwork and sport.”

The initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up program, which aims to strengthen and foster relationships and build sport capacity within the Pacific.

As part of the delivery of the program the ADF partnered with the National Rugby League, Federation International Basketball Association, International Federation of Touch Football and Sports Medicine Australia.

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