Growing the Game Ep. 2—Baseball in The Netherlands w/Seb Visser

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 2 of Growing the Game!

In this episode, I chat with Seb Visser, press officer for #TeamKingdomNL and digital marketer for the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation.

Click here to view the whole show!

03:50 – Seb’s background, overview of team sports in the Netherlands

11:34 – Making the game affordable, introduction of Baseball 5

15:20 – Investments and funding

20:21 – The federation’s marketing priorities

24:34 – Fan support for Dutch baseball league

35:27 – Objections from sports fans

38:35 – Quality of coaching

42:06 – The dynamic of having national team players from the Caribbean and the Netherlands

44:25 – The importance of the Olympics

47:17 – The future of the game in the Netherlands

Growing the Game Ep. 1—Basketball in Scotland w/Neil Harrow

Welcome to Season 1, Episode 1 of Growing the Game!

In this episode, I chat with Troy University women’s basketball assistant Neil Harrow, one of three Scotland natives coaching in NCAA basketball today.

Click here to view the whole show!

04:24 – Neil’s background, growing up in East Kibride, Scotland, the sports he played before discovering basketball

10:45 – Identifying the most popular sports in Scotland

12:09 – Accessibility to basketball courts and gyms for youth and how kids are getting exposed to the game

17:50 – Fan support for the Scotland National Team, funding for basketballscotland

21:24 – Breaking down the professional and collegiate leagues in the United Kingdom and Scotland

34:28 – Highlighting the differences in basketball culture between Scotland and Spain

41:08 – Popularity of basketball among specific cities within Scotland and throughout the United Kingdom

44:30 – Strategies to grow the game in Scotland

54:50 – The future of basketball in Scotland

Working to prevent and end youth homelessness through basketball

At The Basketball Embassy, we believe that we are all ambassadors—not only to the game of basketball, but to every label we fall under as individuals.

Every man and woman is an ambassador to the larger group of men and women, because every interaction with one leads to a perception of the group as a whole. Our Young Ambassador program strives to reach disadvantaged youth with life lessons like these in an environment where they’re most receptive: a basketball court.

The process of improving in both sports and life is a journey inward and outward. The drive and focus to work hard regardless of recognition or immediate results; the balance to manage swings of emotion; the confidence to take your next shot after missing your last—these are all internal skills. External skills deal with how we interact with people.

Listening to others and acknowledging them, using words of encouragement, receiving praise and criticism in stride, and showing respect to both teammates and opponents alike—these are vital external skills. And they’re not only vital on a basketball court; the relationships that exist with other players, coaches, and referees are mirrored in interactions with friends, family members, coworkers, and authority figures.

The sad truth is that great opportunities are rare for our disadvantaged youth. Our goal is to establish the best habits for our Young Ambassadors today, with the hope that they can take full advantage of every opportunity that comes their way in the future. The Young Ambassadors program is currently implemented in the San Antonio area with Haven For Hope, SAMMinistries, and SA Youth.

Click here to view a video highlighting a bit of what we do in the community.

Sports diplomacy with Tunisian basketball coaches

Last week, I was privileged to work with The Basketball Embassy to implement a program we planned alongside World Learning and the U.S. Department of State Sports Diplomacy division over the last couple of months. In this program, we hosted 12 basketball coaches from Tunisia for a variety of learning sessions, workshops and tours to introduce them to American basketball culture and provide them with knowledge and resources to bring back to their country.

In addition to cultivating relationships with these wonderful people, I was privileged to meet with Fayçal Gouia, the Tunisian ambassador to the U.S., explore the nation’s capital, and give two presentations of my own on Effectively Evaluating Youth Basketball Players and Building Your Brand Through Social Media.

I can say without fear of contradiction this was the best work trip I’ve ever been on, and that’s saying something. I learned so much about Tunisian culture, their customs, and their glowing personalities. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to attend the second installment of this program, which takes place in Tunisia, but I absolutely will find my way to visit these fine people in their homeland sooner rather than later.

Check out a few photos from the trip below: