Kids learn in­de­pen­dence at bas­ket­ball camp abroad

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - WANG MINGJIE

Most Chi­nese 9-year-olds spend their sum­mer close to home un­der the su­per­vi­sion of par­ents or grand­par­ents, but Qin Chen spent part of the hol­i­day im­prov­ing his bas­ket­ball skills at a sum­mer school in Barcelona, Spain.

Qin, who prefers to be called Marco, had prac­ticed bas­ket­ball for a year at a lo­cal club in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang province, but was keen to im­prove so he joined five other Chi­nese school­child­ren for a week­long sum­mer camp at the Audie Nor­ris Bas­ket­ball Camp — away from his par­ents — to pur­sue his fa­vorite hobby.

The an­nual camp was set up by re­tired NBA bas­ket­ball player Audie Nor­ris, who also played in Spain and served as head coach of the Chi­nese team in the Jump10 Elite Train­ing Camp in 2016.

Marco said he was se­lected to be the coach’s as­sis­tant be­cause he could speak English and trans­late for those who could not un­der­stand the lan­guage well.

“The train­ing was very hard, and I was tired every day. But I am very proud that all of us fin­ished the train­ing,” Marco said, adding that he learned a lot from the older boys but felt he was still far be­hind. He made a lot of friends, and re­grets not ask­ing for their con­tact de­tails.

The pro­gram was ini­tially sug­gested by Marco’s train­ing club coach, Chavi, a for­mer player in the Span­ish Bas­ket­ball Clubs As­so­ci­a­tion league.

Ac­cord­ing to Wu Yip­ing, Marco’s mother, “Chavi knows all about the camp, as he was in­vited as the guest speaker to share his ex­pe­ri­ence with the

campers last year. We be­lieved in him and trusted his choice.”

The bas­ket­ball camp costs 10,000 yuan ($1,500) per week, in­clud­ing food and lodg­ing, which Wu said was rea­son­able. She trav­eled to Spain with her son but did not at­tend the camp. She be­lieves her choice to send her son to the camp is a good ex­am­ple for Chi­nese fam­i­lies more fo­cused on tal­ent de­vel­op­ment than on lan­guage im­mer­sion.

Wu said she wanted Marco to have the ex­pe­ri­ence of liv­ing abroad, which was a key fac­tor in her de­ci­sion.

“I was re­ally in­ter­ested to see what my son could do in a to­tally for­eign en­vi­ron­ment, to test his in­de­pen­dence and in­ter­de­pen­dence, and to learn to trust him be­ing on his own,” she said.

The chil­dren had to travel two metro stops be­tween the train­ing cen­ter and their liv­ing quar­ters every day, which Wu said was her big­gest con­cern.

“I wor­ried about what would hap­pen if they got sep­a­rated from the coach and got lost on the way to train­ing,” she said.

Wu said the ex­pe­ri­ence was as ed­u­ca­tional for par­ents as it was for the chil­dren: “I have dis­cov­ered the strength and po­ten­tial of my kid, and have learned to stay calm and al­low him to solve prob­lems by him­self.”

She hopes Marco will be able to at­tend an in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball camp in China.

Glob­al­iza­tion should not just mean us trav­el­ing abroad, but also oth­ers com­ing to China,” she said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Qin Chen gives his opin­ions on how chil­dren are trained at bas­ket­ball clubs in China.

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