Building Olympic Dreams: How National Olympic Committees are Empowered by Olympic Solidarity
POHNPEI (Federated States of Micronesia) - From the dazzling heights of the podium to the grassroots training grounds, the Olympic Games inspire millions across the globe. But behind the scenes, a lesser-known force plays a crucial role in ensuring the universality and accessibility of this sporting spectacle: Olympic Solidarity.
Natu Taufale from New Zealand travelled to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) at the beginning of November to deliver FIBA Start Coaching, an opportunity made possible through the support of Olympic Solidarity.
FIBA Start Coaching is a practical course that provides participants with tips on how to make learning basketball fun, how to keep players active, and engaged. Taufale delivered this program as well as facilitating on-island Coach Educator Training.
“It was a great experience in Pohnpei with 15 coaches taking part in the course, and having five coach educators observing me as the educator was also beneficial in what, and how they can continue valuable coach educator lessons,” Taufale said.
“We had coaches from Kosrae, Chuuk, Yap, and Pohnpei take part which was a great environment to teach, and learn. One thing that really stood out for me was how passionate everyone was about basketball, they had great basketball knowledge, and wanted to connect, and learn more about what good coaching looks like.”
Olympic Solidarity, established by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), provides essential support to National Olympic Committees (NOCs), particularly those with the greatest needs. Through a range of multifaceted programs, Olympic Solidarity empowers athletes, promotes the Olympic values, and strengthens NOC structures, ensuring a level playing field for all nations on the Olympic stage.
“Taufale’s visit through Olympic Solidarity was very beneficial, and got everyone caught up on the basic rules, and fundamentals of coaching basketball,” FSM President Ben Peterson said. “It was especially beneficial to our other three states in FSM, as we were able to have one representative from their state’s sport office attend the course.”
“With the exposure to better coaching techniques, and strategies, FSM can continue to improve in every aspect of the game, and I believe through basketball we can develop better athletes, and better people.”
Athlete Development at the Heart of the Mission
At the core of Olympic Solidarity lies a deep commitment to athlete development. Programs like Entourage and Technical Courses for Coaches provide crucial resources to athletes, coaches, and support staff, enabling them to participate in training camps, competitions, and ultimately, the Olympic Games.
Taufale, witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of these initiatives. He highlights the passion for basketball in these island communities and the importance of providing coaches with the tools to deliver positive experiences for participants.
"Coach education is vital for providing athletes with positive, and meaningful experiences," Taufale emphasised. "It helps raise the profile of the sport, build a strong community, and contribute to the growth and sustainability of basketball development."
FSM President Ben Peterson echoed Taufale’s sentiments.
“Coach education is very important in the development of basketball in FSM as it gives coaches, and players a better understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it. This coach course also provided valuable education for our basketball community around officiating which will assist with the flow of games on island.”
Olympic Solidarity plays a vital role in supporting NOCs around the world, fostering a thriving Olympic Movement, and ensuring that athletes have the opportunity to reach their full potential. In conjunction with FIBA’s Strategic Goal of Empowering National Federations, the ongoing partnership between the two will significantly contribute the growth and development of basketball in Oceania.