Bui Van Truong is a 25-year-old from Nuong Dam Commune in Kim Boi District. He graduated with a degree in mathematics from Northwestern University of Education. Currently, he is both a farmer and an Assistant Coach in the Pass It Back program.
According to Truong, “I have only coached players for 4 months, but there are so many memories that I have with the players, and their way of thinking and their stories are very funny and lovely”.
Based on Pass It Back’s platform of providing specialised training for coaches, Truong has found himself gaining new experiences around working and new knowledge around communicating effectively with children.
Truong told us that, “I think that the work of teachers and coaches has some similarities, both vocations require planning, preparation and the delivery of instructional activities that facilitate learning. However, in my opinion, I think that the teacher-student relationship in Vietnam is typically not a very close relationship; there is not much communication outside of the classroom.
But, as a Pass It Back Assistant Coach, I want to act as a friend, a big brother, with my players. I want to remove all the boundaries between us, and be a person willing to listen and support them. In particular, because all of my male players are in their teenage years, so fighting, arguing or teasing sometimes happens among them.”
Truong gave reference to a specific instance that he faced during a Pass It Back session that highlights his feelings and attitudes towards his role as an assistant coach.
There is an emotional boy in my team, his name is Quan. During training, I saw Quan crying. I asked: “Why are you crying? What happened?” He said: “The other boys keep on teasing and calling me ‘cry-baby! cry-baby!’” I tried to calm him, and gathered all players and said: “We are teammates, why did you do that? Name calling is really mean and selfish.
Is there anyone who remembers the 5 rugby values?” All of them replied: “Yes! Yes!”, and they listed the values. Then I said: “It seems like all of us remember them, but did you guys respect Quan? Did you show solidarity as you teased Quan?” Then the other boys understood and immediately said sorry to Quan. Quan stopped crying, and re-joined the session with the team.
Truong explained, “I think when children make mistakes, it is very important to explain the calmly mistake to them and minimise punishments. The key is, Coaches need to continuously monitor the players in order for him or her to be aware of any difficulties that the player is having.
Understanding each player’s personal problems, their fears, or any uncertainties that they are experiencing, this will give the Coach a better understanding each player’s difficulties and capacities. Once the Coach becomes aware of the problems, he or she will have more patience with the player, which will effectively help make the child feel secure.”
During the life skill sessions, Truong always shares his own experiences with his players to encourage the players to share their stories. “Pass It Back has created an open and comfortable space for players to share and seek support when they are experiencing personal issues. Some of them find it very difficult to speak out, even with their parents, about their difficulties, such as being bullied, academic pressures, sexual harassment, or family problems.
However, during Pass It Back life skills sessions, the players can share their thoughts or feelings with their teammates, and talk to their coaches in confidence. The players always get the support they need. After the Child Safeguarding training, I feel that am well equipped with the skills to give players appropriate advice and knowing about the safeguarding incident reporting system is very useful.”
Truong is also clearly aware of his responsibility as a role model for his players. Parents often encourage their children to learn from Truong: he does not smoke, drink, gamble, and he is a gentle and thoughtful man. “I am pleased and proud of being recognised by my community, and I will try to improve myself further.
I think that people who work and interact with children should be aware of their actions because, for example, the methods of communication that we use on the pitch and in daily life will be observed and learnt by the players. So, if we want to create a positive influence on children, we need to be a role model first.”
Quan, from team XZ, shared his feelings about his coach with us as well. “Truong is very gentle, and he often encourages me to be more confident and emotionally stronger. Now, if I am teased, I will not cry anymore. I love to train with the team every week, playing tag rugby, especially when we can participate in the tournaments. The feeling of scoring a try is so wonderful!”
Truong summed up his thoughts on being a Pass It Back assistant coach, saying: “The more I love being around by my players the more I persevere with the Pass It Back project and our teams also received enthusiastic support from parents. I am proud to be part the project to create the positive change for children in my community.”
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This case studies is written by staff or Coaches supporting the Pass It Back program.
Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development program led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win. The program aims to equip children and young people in Asia to overcome challenges, inspire positive social change and ‘pass it back’ to their communities.
Using Get Into Rugby, a World Rugby program to grow the Game globally, the program gets children and youth to Try, Play and Stay in the Game. It is a part of the Impact Beyond Rugby World Cup 2019 programme (‘Impact Beyond 2019’), which will increase awareness and sustainable growth of rugby in Asia.
Pass It Back delivers an integrated rugby and life skills curriculum in a safe environment that promotes the values of the Game and builds a new generation of leaders in disadvantaged communities across Asia.