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Category: Volunteering, gap year and career break in India

Coach a variety of sports in an English-Medium school with children ranging from 3 to 18. Indian children are passionate about sport - you see them on the streets playing games, often with imaginative makeshift equipment.

Popular sports at the school include: Basketball, Cricket, Football, Tennis, Volleyball, Badminton and Table Tennis.

Sport is taught during Physical Education (PE) classes throughout the day. The schools have only basic equipment and potholed pitches ... but the children love sports!


PRICES Please see the Prices Page - prices for all projects and all lengths are listed and you can also choose which currency you'd like to see them in.
Start Dates All year round (subject to school holidays) - you choose your start and finish dates!
Duration 2 weeks to 1 year, subject to visa requirements
Requirements Minimum age 17, no qualifications necessary (just a good dose of enthusiasm).
What's included
  • Arranging your Programme
  • Full pre-departure support and assistance
  • Payment Protection Insurance
  • Meeting you at Madurai Airport
  • Transfer to your accommodation
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Local in-country team support and backup
  • 24-hr emergency support.
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Cost of Visas (if a visa is required)
  • Daily transport to and from your project
  • Return transfer to the airport
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities.


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Coaching sports has immeasurable indirect benefits for the children, such as health awareness, increased confidence and social skills. Although the children can speak English they tend to be incredibly shy at first, but they will soon open up.

You'll usually teach between 10 and 30 children at a time. Sometimes the children can be split into smaller groups with the PE teacher taking half the children if you find that they are too many to coach. You’ll most likely be teaching children aged between 7 and 16.

 You may be coaching sports on your own or the PE teachers may assist you; it will depend on their knowledge of the sports you are coaching. It is vital to use loads of initiative on this placement as you may have to ‘round up’ classes to coach during the day.

You will usually be coaching for 3 to 5 hours at one school only, however there is a possibility that you may coach at two different venues. The lessons are approximately 40 minutes each and you will be coaching a variety of sports:

Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India and has produced some of the finest cricketers in the world. India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983 and then again in 2011. They also won the first ever T20 world cup in 2007. Children love to practise at every opportunity so this sport will be in great demand.

Football is probably the second most popular sport in India after cricket. Football is not widely played though so resources are lacking. You may find a few deflated footballs and cones and most of the time you will need to improvise as you may not find goal posts. Football coaching is also available as a full time project.

Badminton is also one of the most popular sports in India with Sania Nehwal one of the emerging players in India today. Many children play badminton but few receive proper coaching.

The facilities at the schools may be basic and the children may not receive proper coaching; this is where you come in.

Volleyball is another popular sport in India and is played in the larger schools.

Basketball is becoming more and more popular in India so any help you can give the children will be appreciated.

Coaching sports is only available from June to February because, from the beginning of March, the children have to concentrate on their academic studies as their exams are just around the corner. However, you may be able to coach some sport during the Summer Holidays (April to May) when Summer Camps are held in some of our schools for approximately 40 children. These Summer Camps actually take place in the school grounds and are an opportunity to give more informal lessons, perhaps combining them with playing a sport or putting together a music concert or play – much more relaxed and not quite so structured.

Alternatively, you can use the holidays to tour around the country and sightsee.

Please keep in mind that school holidays can change unexpectedly with very little notice given. Although at times this can be quite inconvenient, most of our volunteers use the opportunity to travel around and explore the country.

  • First Term Vacation: 26 September to 6 October 2015
  • Gandhi’s birthday: 2 October 2015
  • Bakrid: 3 October 2015
  • Diwali Holiday: 21 to 23 October 2015
  • Second Term Vacation: 24 December 2015 to 3 January 2016
  • Pongal Holiday: 14 to 17 January 2016
  • Republic Day: 26 January 2016
  • Good Friday: 25 March 2016
  • Summer Vacation: 11 April to 4 June 2016
  • Idu’l Fitr : 5 July 2016
  • Independence Day: 15 August 2016

Exam Periods: (approx):

  • Quarterly Exams: 18 to 25 September 2015
  • Half Yearly Exams: 10 to 23 December 2015
  • Annual Exams: 2 to 11 April 2016 (although teaching is limited from Mid March)

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For a complete Indian experience we'll arrange for you to stay with a wonderful host family. All of our hosts are very welcoming and not only will be made to feel part of the family you’ll also gain a great insight into Indian culture and customs. Many of our volunteers remain friends with their host families long after they leave India.

You may share a room with two or three other volunteers and in most homes you'll have an en-suite Western-style bathroom. Most of the showers in our host accommodation are cold water only – however your hosts will boil water for you. All of our host family houses are close together and just a few minutes’ walk away from internet cafes, banks and snack shops and just a short auto ride into the centre of town. Our staff in Madurai also live close-by.

Breakfast and dinner will be provided and prepared for you by the family and is mainly local fare, allowing you to taste a varied selection of delicious south Indian dishes and exotic fruits. You will need to make provision for your own lunch.

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You can explore quaint waterways, beautiful sandy beaches, and meander through forests and coconut groves, take a ride on an elephant and visit ancient temples.

MADURAI - Madurai is known by many names; ‘Jasmine city’ for the famous jasmine flowers that are cultivated here, ‘the city of Nectar’, Legend tells of a river of nectar that flowed after blessing from Lord Shiva, and the ‘Temple City’, Madurai really does have a temple or shrine on practically every street but it is most famed for the Sri Meenakshi Sundeswarar Temple. Approximately 10,000 people visit it every day!

Madurai is located on Vaigai River and is filled with pilgrims, market stalls and tourist shops. Children will stop you on the streets to chat to you and shake your hand and even ask for your autograph!

TRIVANDRUM - is the capital of the gorgeous state of Kerala and lies on the west coast. Kerala is known as 'God's own country' and the locals refer to the food as 'God's own food in God's own country' - with such a reputation, this is definitely an experience you shouldn't miss!! The city is built on 7 hills by the shore near the southern tip of mainland India. It's very popular with local and international tourists because it has so much - beaches, temples, mountains, rivers, museums and zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, palaces waterfalls ... the list is endless.

KODAIKANAL/OOTY - For a bit of cool relief, take a trip to the hill station of Kodaikanal, just 4 hours away from Madurai. A different world - breathtaking mountains, a picturesque lake with a wide range of activities on offer from horse riding, rowing, cycling, trekking. A trip to Ooty with its tea plantations should not be missed – ride the toy train for spectacular views over the Palani hills.

PONDICHERRY & MAHABALIPURUM - In the French quarter you will find leafy boulevards and restaurants serving European cuisine. The famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram is also to be found here. Just 14kms away is the commune of Auroville; stay in a tree house on the beach for a magical experience. 2 hours north is the delightful fishing town of Mahabalipurum famed for its shore temple and rock carvings.

KERALA has been named ""Gods own Country" by the locals for its stunning scenery, wildlife, beautiful beaches, picture postcard towns and the breaktaking backwaters. It is also the home of Ayurveda medicine, an ancient system using essential oils and vigorous massage to aid medical complaints or just for pampering. Explore delightful Fort Cochin with its famous Chinese fishing nets, souvenir shops, art cafes and Jewish quarter; explore some of Kerala's backwaters - an intricate network of rivers and smaller tributaries around Kochi.

Kerala also has one of the best wildlife parks in the country; Periyar. Jungle trekking and jeep safari’s take you off the beaten track in the hope of spotting an elusive tiger although you are more likely to see elephants, boar, monkeys and many species of birds. You can also take an elephant ride, boat ride, visit spice and tea plantations, watch martial arts – it’s an action packed weekend and only 4 hours from Madurai!

GOA is famous for its expanse of beaches, from big touristy ones to smaller, quieter and more picturesque beaches towards the south of Goa, where travellers and long term European residents congregate. In these tiny beach resorts, the beaches are almost deserted and you can mix with locals and tourists whilst lazing in the sun.

MUMBAI is a huge modern city. Bollywood cinema originated in this huge city and has become a major part of life here. The famous Chowpatty beach is where you can often see young Bollywood stars relaxing at sunset. The rest of the city is just as chaotic as other parts of India, with overflowing markets, bazaars and lots and lots of people! From Mumbai you can visit Elephanta Island, home to ancient temples depicting holy scenes that have been cut away from the rock and also Ajanta Caves.

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Riding an elephant in India