Volunteer sports coaching in South Africa
Coach football, netball, hockey, cricket, rugby, tennis, basketball or swimming in one of the world’s greatest sporting nations, bringing your love for sports into some of Africa’s poorest townships. Coach just one or a combination of these sports to improve not only the children’s sporting abilities and teamwork, but your own as well. If that’s not enough for you, you can even get involved with childcare and teaching!
South Africa is renowned in the sporting world for its strength in competitions and producing sporting heroes, making it the ultimate destination for sports coaching abroad. With their particular passion for football, rugby and cricket, South Africa’s sportsmen and women are growing from strength to strength.
Oyster arranges for you to become part of an inspiring project to take these sports to the townships, coaching the potential Makhaya Ntinis and Steven Pienaars of the future, helping them to develop a passion for sports and a motivation for life.
Taking sports to these underprivileged communities is fun and incredibly rewarding. Without sports as part of a wider curriculum, the township kids have very little opportunity for organised training and games. Your passion for sport will get an enthusiastic response, and you will have a lot of fun coaching them and seeing how much it all means to them.
All of this takes place in “The Friendly City” that is Port Elizabeth, which hosted many of the Football World Cup games in 2010.. The city is vibrant, promising a great social life with beautiful beaches, great surf and with easy access to the stunning Garden Route. The accommodation boasts a swimming pool, gym, table tennis and table football and (a highlight for many) Sky TV with 9 sports channels!
What will I be doing?
Gone are the days of standing on the sidelines wishing to be anywhere else but the sports pitch- these kids are all desperate to learn, and will do so with plenty of smiles and laughter. Every weekday your group will head to various schools to coach your chosen sport- or a variety of them. Your role will be to help coach the kids and act as a good role model. You don’t need to be a top player to take part (though any champions are welcome!). It’s your personality and drive that will make the biggest impact.
Which sports can I coach?
Volunteers enjoy specialising in one sport, but often we find that they love to combine this with the other sports too. This gives you greater variety and greater capacity to learn. The freedom to choose between different sports makes the weeks even more diverse.
- Football coaching volunteering – inspiring the kids to love “soccer”, one of the nation’s favourite games. More…
- Rugby coaching volunteering – the Springboks, SA’s national rugby union team, play many matches in Port Elizabeth, so local enthusiasm for learning rugby is massive! More…
- Cricket coaching volunteering – Port Elizabeth is the home of SA’s oldest cricket ground, and hosted the first Test Match played outside of England or Australia. Needless to say, the sport is huge! More…
- Netball coaching volunteering – netball is a growing sport in SA, especially in the townships. Expect lots of excited girls wanting to learn! More…
- Hockey coaching volunteering – the national hockey team has given impressive performances at the international and Olympic level, and is growing in popularity in the townships. More…
- Tennis coaching volunteering – work alongside local organizations supported by the Roger Federer Foundation to bring tennis to the townships, and increase the number of South African stars. More…
- Swimming coaching volunteering – shockingly, 70% of the South African population does not know how to swim, the vast majority of these from poor townships. Help teach this valuable skill to many kids who are desperate to learn. More…
- Basketball coaching volunteering – basketball is very new to South Africa, and its popularity is growing! Basketball South Africa, the sport’s governing body, is now promoting grassroots initiatives for bringing more kids into the game. More…
If you would like to work with kids in the capacity of teaching and childcare, in combination with the sports coaching, this is also a great option. See our teaching and childcare volunteering page for more information.
Accommodation and Food
You will be sharing the accommodation with childcare and teaching volunteers, as well as the other sports coaching volunteers. The accommodation is in a large area encompassing the offices and accommodation for some staff members, volunteer accommodation, living areas and kitchen facilities. It caters for all tastes, with great gym facilities, a games room including pool, table tennis, table football and darts, a swimming pool and TV lounge with access to many channels. There is wifi available and all your meals are provided by a lovely homely cook, who prepares your dinner each evening. You take a packed lunch out to the projects with you each day, and breakfast is a large buffet affair.
The accommodation is located in a lovely leafy area of Port Elizabeth, about 10 minutes drive from the centre and the sea front and a couple of minutes walk to the local shops. It is a perfect place to unwind in the evenings, with plenty of space to chill out with the other volunteers.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Spend your days outside under the temperate African sun, coaching your favourite sports to kids who are enthusiastic to learn.
- Enjoy a varied programme of trips outside volunteering including a township tour, lots of braais (BBQS), a trip to the surfing mecca of South Africa, and a visit to a game reserve.
- Get to know the real South Africa, and gain an insight into the lives of its children in a way that you would not as a tourist passing through.
- Enjoy South Africa’s incredible climate, great wildlife, sporting enthusiasm and delicious food and drink.
- Become part of an exciting mission to bring sports to the townships, and work with a great bunch of like-minded people – many of whom could become friends for life!
Whyshould I do this?
If your passion is to teach sport abroad, you will be welcomed into this community with open arms. The kids love it – and their sports and life skills get a real boost too. It’s very rewarding to give them these opportunities when so much is stacked against them. You will meet some fantastic children, teachers and volunteers alike, on a volunteer project that will really open your eyes to this stunning country.
Sports aside, this is a fantastic place to do volunteer work abroad – Port Elizabeth is vibrant and fun, the beautiful Garden Route is on your doorstep, and you can take part in safaris, surfing and bungee jumps to your hearts content.
Volunteers fly in to Port Elizabeth (PLZ) on the start date of the project, which is usually a Saturday. See here for the project dates. Port Elizabeth is a 90 minute flight from Johannesburg.
On arrival at Port Elizabeth airport you will be collected by a member of the team and taken down to the accommodation to settle in and get to know the rest of your group.
Nick, who runs the sporting programme, is our local representive in Port Elizabeth. He’ll meet you at the airport, get you settled in and will liaise with Oyster about your welfare and progress while you are there. You’ll have most interaction with Domineque, the volunteer co-ordinator. She is an ex-volunteer who loved it so much that she has been working there ever since! There are 23 members of staff at the foundation, and you will get close to many of them.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in South Africa
- Advice on obtaining a visa (not required for EU citizens)
- Met and greeted warmly at Port Elizabeth airport and transferred to accommodation
- Food ( three meals a day)
- Accommodation – dormitory style
- Full orientation and induction course in-country to orientate you and brief you on local matters
- 24/7 country support and back-up.
- All transport to and from project sites
- Several weekend, evening, adventure and social activities/trips. Find out more.
- Monthly donation to provide 2 children with one meal a day for a year
- Free access to InterHealth’s Travel Health Advice Service
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Help and advice following on from your programme
- Certificate of recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- Flights (Oyster can book for you)
- A full passport valid for a minimum of 30 days after your return date
- Visas (where needed)
- Insurance, we can introduce you to a policy
- Independent travel costs
- Personal spending money – laundry, drinks, independent travel.Volunteers recommend £60 per week.
- All home country travel costs (eg to airport)
- Criminal Records Bureau check/ police check
- A reference from a recent employer/ teacher or otherwise