Sport
First Egyptian youth baseball league to use Canadian curriculum to teach the game

First Egyptian youth baseball league to use Canadian curriculum to teach the game

A program developed by Baseball Canada is used to help teach the game to Egypt’s premier youth baseball league.

Based in the United States, Because Baseball, a non-profit organization, runs the league and uses Baseball Canada’s Winterball program.

This is the first time that the program has been used by another country.

“The first time you were exposed to baseball, the kids might be afraid of being hit by the baseball. When you get a ball on the ground or a flying ball, you can be afraid of being hurt,” Andre said. Lachance, Business, Director of Sport Development and the National Women’s Team for Baseball Canada.

But the Winterball program makes it “almost risk-free. When you’re doing something and you’re safe, it’s easier to keep playing the sport and be successful.”

Because the 8 to 12 year old baseball league is learning the skills featured in Winterball, which is part of the physical education curriculum in schools across Canada. Winterball aims to introduce basic baseball skills.

“We attach great importance and a great value to skills development,” said Lachance. “The link is more towards pleasure; we call this stage of development FUN-dementals. We see through research that if you have that first positive experience, kids will stay in sport. ”

Create a baseball diamond

Because the Youth Baseball League plays on the football fields, on the sidewalk and everywhere else, a baseball diamond can be created.

“The Winterball program gives students from all walks of life the opportunity to develop their baseball skills, increase hand-eye coordination and learn the principles of good sportsmanship, while promoting an active lifestyle and healthy, ”said Kemp Gouldin, Founder and President of Because Baseball.

Gouldin, who was introduced to Lachance through Mutual Relations, said Lachance supports Because Baseball’s mission and that they have found alignment in their work through the Winterball program.

“One of the cool things is seeing the kids cheering on each other,” Gouldin said. “Yes, there is competition. But there is also a real spirit of mutual upliftment, and the idea is that anyone can be successful if we support each other.”

The organization hosted baseball matches in Egypt on the Giza Plateau, the first match in over a century to be played in the midst of the Great Pyramids. Baseball has not been played there since Albert Spalding’s Chicago White Stockings played the All-Americas against the backdrop of the Pyramids in 1889.

Because Baseball hosts six weeklong baseball seasons across Cairo, reaching hundreds of young players by partnering with local schools in a similar method to how Baseball Canada partners with education programs. Canadian physics. The Winterball program provides schools with equipment kits that include sticks, balls and foam bases.

Gouldin received a donation of equipment from several sports companies for the Egyptian Youth League.

Children from all walks of life are in the league. Boys and girls play together, and children from private schools and orphanages play on the same teams.

“Baseball was instrumental in breaking down the barriers that divided us,” said Gouldin. “As a kid, I learned that baseball can bring families, communities and cultures together, and it’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.”

Inspired by a sculpture in the temple of Philae that depicts a pharaoh holding a bat and a ball, Gouldin became interested in the history of baseball in Egypt. Depictions of pharaohs holding a bat also appear in the temple of Deir et-Bahari.

“We believe that the joy induced by playing or watching sports was considered conducive to worship,” said Peter Piccione, Egyptologist and associate professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

His lecture “Batting the Ball” details the game of Seker-Hemat, a former precursor of baseball. Piccione said it probably derived from an old boy’s bat and ball game played for fun and recreation.

“Hitting the ball was a kind of stickball, in which the king would hit the balls at his priests, who would catch them on the fly,” Piccione said.

Help the children

Now with baseball there is a Coaching Scholarship and Exchange where American coaches team up with Egyptian coaches to help kids learn the skills of the sport in Arabic and English.

“I want to see an official school league, and the game will spread like fire,” said Waleed Abo El-Nour, a Because Baseball coach who is a physical education teacher at New Generation International School in Cairo. “When you reach the schools, you reach the majority of the children.”

Through the coaching exchange, Abo El-Nour spent a month at a high school in Richmond, Va., Learning more about college baseball coaching and advancing his training. He now teaches elementary and high school baseball and introduced baseball as part of his school’s physical education program.

The Because Baseball Youth League is the first to be designated a subsidiary of Major League Baseball in the Middle East.

Bobby Evans, a former general manager of the San Francisco Giants who served as an advisor to Gouldin as he began to build the organization, traveled to Egypt to support the league and served as the Major League’s first representative baseball player to travel to Egypt in an official capacity since 1914.

“There is a way to coach kids that reinforces positive messages and encourages kids to do their best and not be too distracted by the results,” Evans said. “Baseball is a game where failure is part of the game, and you have to get up, dust yourself off and keep going.”

Gouldin wants to use the Winterball program to customize the model of youth baseball league in other countries in the Middle East.

The pandemic has turned the spring season upside down and Gouldin hopes clinics and in-person matches can start again next fall.

Home training

For now, players can practice at home, using baseball clinic videos translated into Arabic, which showcase innovative drills, tips and advice on how to make baseball equipment at home. using crumpled aluminum foil wrapped with duct tape or two pairs of balls. socks rolled up with tape to make balls.

Terry Johnson, a trainer, uses socks to make a ball, especially for very young children, to avoid the fear of being hit by the ball while learning to catch. And he encourages the use of a broom or mop to help with the batting position.

Johnson, who traveled to Egypt to coach in the youth league, said that despite the players’ different backgrounds, the game produced some genuine moments of joy and laughter.

“If we take the lead in how children interact with each other, the world would be a better place,” he said.

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