to read

Pualele determined to change narrative for Female coaches in Samoa

Apia (Samoa) - Pualele Craig is one of the participants of the recently concluded Tournament Coaches Course for Female Coaches organized by FIBA Oceania, the Samoan-Canadian shared her thoughts on the workshop and how it will help her as a coach in Samoa.

Craig is currently the coach of a team from the Riverside Basketball Club which is comprised of a junior program (6-11 years old), U14 (boys and girls), and U17 (boys and girls) teams. Aside from being the only female coach, she is also the President of the basketball club.

"The Riverside Basketball Club is a self-funded organization and is named after our family's Riverside Complex," shared Craig, who holds a master's law degree.

According to the former Samoa National Basketball player, she decided to form her own club to encourage her sons to play the game.

"I’m new to coaching. I started this team three years ago so my sons could play basketball. As a busy Solicitor, initially, I asked others to coach our boys' U14 team. Then when no one was available, I was forced to step in as coach last year," said Craig, who represented her country in the 2007 Pacific Games.

"I realized that coaching is an opportunity to build up youth and influence them for good on and off the court and its what inspired me to keep coaching," she added.

Photo: Pualele with her team during their practice

Craig humbly acknowledged her desire to learn more and credited the course to improve her technical skills as a coach.

"It was a big dose of upskilling because I'm not a coach of national level or anything like that. This course was something that I needed if I want to help my players to get better," Craig said. "The course has provided me with a wealth of information and to see it coming from other females was inspiring."

Craig who won the Gold for Samoa in Archery in 2007 praised the presenters for their impressive credentials and their knowledge during the forum sessions.

"All of the presenters were down to earth even though I felt like they had all PHDs in basketball, I was impressed with the way they were able to make things simple," she said. "It's amazing that they were able to deliver information where I can apply it at the level that I am coaching."

Craig admitted that there aren't a lot of female coaches in Samoa but she is determined to help influence young girls to be confident in taking up coaching roles in the future.

Photo: 2019 Pacific Games Women's Team  with Pualele Craig  (Top, farthest to the right)

"I honestly don't know any other female coaches at least in my area. But I believe there's a chance to change that narrative because I think women can do anything if we get the support and resources to achieve our goals," Pualele said, who was also the team manager for the Samoa Women's team in the 2019 Pacific Games.

"Our club is determined to give opportunities to aspiring female coaches and we will continue to improve our program to help the youth in general," she added.

The proud mother of three boys reiterated that her foray into coaching was born out of the desire to teach her sons to play and love for the sport with loving support from her husband, Daniel Craig.

"Basketball is a sport that I love that is why I put so much time, effort, and money into it. I want my sons to experience the joy I have playing the games and I also want to thank my husband Daniel, he made it possible for me to be able to all coach and run the club," she said.

"I’m grateful to FIBA and their efforts to develop basketball in Oceania and particularly to advance women and girls in the sport," she added.