Heart of Basketball (HOB): Leadership, Teamwork, and the Pursuit of Success, uses basketball as the medium for developing leadership skills, team-building capacity, and empowerment of the students' confidence in their potential.


A 14-day program using basketball training to guide students in developing confidence in their character and building effective leadership qualities. HOB is a journey through Coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success. Through teamwork and immersive cross-cultural activities, participants become leaders equipped with skills to confidently excel on and off the court.

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Pyramid of Success

The Pyramid of Success is a 15-building block model designed for discovering one’s potential. HOB’s pedagogy threads through each building block from the foundation up, applying each attribute on and off the basketball court in a personal and team-building context. 

English Language Pledge and Storytelling

English language capability is one of the biggest obstacles listed by students who faced problems integrating while abroad. A language pledge to speak only English for the duration of the program helps students cement their language skill and receive a confidence boost before the term begins. HOB’s English curriculum is enhanced through the use of digital storytelling. This gives participants not only the chance to express and share their personal narratives via social media platforms, but also invites creative illustration and articulation of their learning outcomes. 

Fundamental Basketball Skills

Participants will improve and develop fundamental basketball skills through quality training, drills, and exercises linked to the Pyramid of Success building-blocks. Through the guidance of experienced coaches from the USA, participants learn what it takes to overcome limitations, build confidence in their potential, and be a member of a team striving for the shared goal of doing one's best.

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  • To enhance participants’ cross-cultural competencies by engaging with local communities, schools, and organizations.

  • To inspire participants’ confidence, community building, and character development through experiential learning and dialogue facilitation emphasizing personal experiences and narratives.

  • To advance participants’ English language ability through a high-impact English language pledge and digital storytelling exercises. The language pledge will include opportunities to practice articulating participants’ own opinions, perspectives, and learnings through facilitated discussions, team practices, and conversations with Native English speakers. 

  • To provide participants with quality-efficient basketball drills, trainings to improve athletic ability and health.

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Heart of Basketball Day 2: Leadership and Teamwork Best Practices

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau

Morning Activities: Ownership of experience: Self introductions, team goal-setting and intention, character development self-empowerment. Leadership Qualities Workshop: Deconstructed articulation and perceived qualities for the words, “Leadership”, “Teamwork”, and “Success”. Envisioned qualities of “Leadership”, “Teamwork” and “Success” through creative depiction using a digital media collage. 

Morning Dialogue: Sharing own understanding of values, perspective, and qualities of “Leadership”, “Teamwork”, and “Success”. Linking the importance of creativity and reflection practice to leadership development.

Afternoon Activities: Leadership Skills: Deconstructed articulation and perceived skills for the words, “Leadership”, “Teamwork”, and “Success”.  Leadership Skills Workshop: Application of communication, listening, organizing, trust, creativity, and team-building through experiential learning activities: Trust Walk and Rope Square. 

Afternoon Discussion: Application of leadership and teamwork qualities and skills in order to succeed. Discussion of the group’s leadership and team behavioral dynamic. Recognition of similar behavioral patterns in personal experiences, basketball, and society. How to put these qualities and skills into practice now.

Evening Basketball Practice: Routine: Stretches, fundamental warm-up drills, norm setting. Theme: Application of Leadership and Teamwork Qualities and Skills on the court. Emphasis on verbal and non-verbal communication, trust, support, and respect. Light-skill drills: Passing and movement with verbal and non-verbal communication. Defense: Communication, trust and support as team members.

Evening Wrap-up Discussion: Learning Outcomes: Linking on and off-the-court leadership and teamwork qualities and skills. Redefinition of “Success." Introduction to Pyramid of Success: John Wooden, preparation for next day’s theme; cornerstones of the Pyramid of Success, “hard-work” and “enthusiasm.” Next steps: How to apply newfound learnings of Leadership and Teamwork qualities and skills for growth and empowerment

The purpose of the day is to establish a foundational practice of leadership and teamwork qualities and skills within the group to succeed on and off the basketball court together. The intention is to scaffold a culture and attitude based on participants’ ownership and empowerment of their growth throughout the program. Through an experiential learning workshop and a discussion, qualities of leadership and teamwork are explored on an individual level. After lunch, we segue into skills of leadership and teamwork by expanding their practices to a collective level. By participating in team-building exercises emphasizing effective verbal communication, listening, organization, and trust, the participants bond over learning how to rely on one another to succeed in the challenges they are faced with. We conclude the day by discussing how to apply these qualities and skills to succeed in situations beyond the program. In the evening, we continue to implement these themes in a basketball context, encouraging participants to shift their perspective from just being a group, to an actual team leading towards their shared goal for growth. This day forms the necessary groundwork and attitude within the group for their journey through John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and the rest of the program.