A rugby player and role model

Truong is a 25-year-old coach from Kim Boi District, with a degree in mathematics. He is a farmer and an Assistant Coach with ChildFund Pass It Back.

As a coach, Truong is also a role model to a new generation of rugby players in Vietnam.

“I have only coached players for 4 months, but there are already so many memories that I have; their way of thinking and their stories are very funny and lovely.”

Truong takes his role as a coach with ChildFund Pass It Back seriously: “I want to act as a friend, a big brother, with my players.”

ChildFund Pass It Back’ provides specialised training for coaches, and Truong has found himself learning new skills when it comes to communicating effectively with children.

He explains: “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 ChildFund 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.”

“ChildFund Pass It Back has created an open and comfortable space for players to share and seek support when they are experiencing personal issues.”

During the life skill sessions, Truong always shares his own experiences with his team to encourage the players to share their stories. “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 ChildFund 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.”

The child safeguarding skills learnt through ChildFund Pass It Back have also been invaluable to Truong. “After the training, I feel that am well equipped with the skills to give players appropriate advice. Also, knowing about the child protection reporting system is very useful.”

Truong is 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.

“If we want to create a positive influence on children, we need to be role models first.”

Quan is a member of Truong’s team, and is very happy to have him as a coach. “Truong is very gentle, and he often encourages me to be more confident and emotionally stronger.

“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!”