EHF in mission of creating better players’ environment
The European Handball Federation’s mission to create a better players’ environment has played an important role in the past two years. The EHF has actively participated and launched a few projects aimed at creating a healthy eco-system for players allowing them to grow and develop from the grassroots level to elite Handball.
The aim is to guide the players from the early stages through the grassroots activities, equip them with the right skills during adolescence and give them more post-career opportunities by introducing them to dual careers.
“In the creation of a better players’ environment and stressing the importance of full player development, the EHF wants to work with all stakeholders involved with Handball. Female and male players are the main protagonists of our sport and, together with the stakeholders, we want to offer them guidance and support through their careers”, says EHF President Michael Wiederer.
“With the launch of ‘Respect Your Talent’ this summer, great results from ‘Handball 4 Dual Careers’ project and the grassroots initiatives that will be the main topic of the EHF Scientific Conference in November, we have created a cycle which targets all stages of players’ development. In this respect, we will have more initiatives in the future as development and education play an important role in the Master Plan presented at the Conference of Presidents in June 2019.”
Supporting players on their academic and professional path
Started in January 2017, the Handball 4 Dual Careers project had the objective to develop a comprehensive support service for the development of Handball players through a collaborative approach between sporting bodies (clubs, federations), educational organisations and private sector representatives.
The project was initiated by three clubs BM. Granollers (ESP), Fenix Toulouse Handball (FRA) and IK Sävehof (SWE) with funding from the European Union’s Erasmus + Programme and conducted in the partnership with Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI).
Over 30 months, the three Handball clubs have utilised the support service the AUAS. The project targeted players starting at the age of 12 and all the way to university age with professional players being explicitly included. The project was conducted in three phases and included 214 players across three clubs. The clubs organised different activities, such as presentations to raise awareness; personal development workshops; individual sessions with tutors; talks from experts about sports psychology, employability and more; and meetings with external stakeholders, so-called ‘Player2Business’ activities. In total, 11 ‘Player2Business’ activities were organised with 108 companies involved.
The project finished in June 2019 with the final project conference where the results and findings from the project were presented together with the Transferability plan, which will be used in the future as a dual career guideline.
Fostering young players’ development
Before stepping into the elite Handball world, the EHF wants to make sure the talented players, both male and female, are equipped with the right skills to make a smooth transition. To secure that, the EHF has launched ‘Respect Your Talent’ project in July aimed at fostering the development of young Handball players on and off the court.
‘Respect Your Talent’ has the objective to identify young talented players, track their careers and support them. The project will be conducted in 2019 and 2020 covering both women’s and men’s younger age category events. During this summer, more than 300 female players were selected through ‘Player of the Match’ and All-star Team awards. Each of the women’s 19 and 17 events the ‘RYT Activity Day’ was held where the selected players had the opportunity to hear valuable advice from experienced and highly decorated Handball players about the importance of having a dual career and communication with media, which young players usually struggle with.
In the second year, male players will be also selected at the Men’s 18 and 20 events. In addition, the EHF plans organise a special training camp in 2020 for the All-star Team players selected this summer during women’s 19 and 17 events. The ‘Respect Your Talent toolkit’ will also be developed and published in the meantime and will serve as a guide for players, covering topics such as dual careers, communication with media, use of social networks, anti-doping and fair play.
‘Handball for life’ in focus of EHF Scientific Conference
Titled ‘Handball for Life’, the 5th EHF Scientific Conference will have a special emphasis on grassroots Handball. Taking place from 21 to 22 November 2019 in Cologne, Germany, the conference will underline that the interest in sport should be initiated at a very young age and does not necessarily end at a higher age.
Grassroots are the foundation of the game and create a personal and active connection to the sport. Through this leisure activity, children are learning in an informal environment and developing skills that are necessary for their life. Elite Handball needs healthy basis which can be found on the grassroots level.
On the fringes of the Women’s EHF EURO 2018 in France, the EHF already organised the Grassroots Market where different activities were presented to engage people with Handball.
Aside from grassroots, the EHF Scientific Conference will also deal with topics related to players’ environment such as coaching which plays an important role in the whole players’ development environment. The EHF is working hard with its external stakeholders to ensure the best education possible for the coaches offering them many opportunities to learn throughout the year with the EHF Master Coach Course, national courses and Academic EHF Master Coach Certification.
Creating a legacy
‘Handball 4 Dual Careers’, ‘Respect Your Talent’ and the EHF Scientific Conference in November are three projects with which the EHF is showing its commitment to creating a better player’s environment for the future as a part of its strategy and action plan through to 2027.
The EHF wants to create a legacy for other sports that could also make use of the projects aimed at personal and professional development of the players.