EHF Katarina Pandza

On 27-29 October 2020, the European Handball Federation (EHF) will host the European Handball Online Summit. TW1N is delighted to be among the international speakers.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of initiatives for Grassroots Handball were shut down or not able to proceed. Therefore, the EHF wants to provide the handball community with a new type of event that was especially created to target the Grassroots Handball community.

TW1N Keynote EHOS

For the grassroots

The European Handball Online Summit will be organized as a virtual event. The aim of the summit is to transfer expert knowledge to the handball basis. Renowned European experts in different fields of practice (spanning youth training, sponsoring or marketing) will share their knowledge with officials, coaches, club and federation coordinators as well as athletes. TW1N founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger is invited to address the dual career keynote.

Find detailed information on the EHOS at the official summit website.

On and Off - A quest for meaning

On & Off: A quest for meaning

High-level demands and a multitude of manifold transitions at a young age represent modern performance pathways. In such environments, research shows that the athletes' undertaking of dual career development measures next to sport appears to have interesting side effects on athletic level.

High-performance programmes have experienced new recent dynamics, becoming particularly apparent in professional sports. Increased training hours, international transfers of teenagers, extensive mobility, an aggregate of external expectations or (insufficiently regulated) agent structures are just a few selected attributes of this development.

While some sporting systems content themselves with calling this "part of the game", innovative approaches are aware of the danger of uprooting young people face through their competitive lifestyle. On that score, dual career development has traditionally been judged (mainly) a corporate social responsibility of sport. This angle of view misses out on dual career as a supreme factor of athletic development.

The effect of off-field activities on on-field performance

A study of Saunders/Pink (2014) conducted within the Australian Football League shows that dual career development perceived as valuable by players has a statistically significant association with higher levels of athletic engagement. The study interprets that the more players perceive themselves as competent in the intellectual domain, and that they are supported by their sporting system with respect to their off‐field activity (in addition to dual career development, this is defined to span recreation, development of life skills, cultural immersion, spending time with friendship groups, and appearances/community), the more likely they have such a valuable experience:

"These results support previous qualitative research (…) that suggests an athlete's experiences in activities that serve to prepare for life after football will be influenced both by the athlete’s sense of efficacy in such activities and the support they receive from their sporting club or organisation to participate in them."

Together, athletic engagement (which is expected to lead to sustained and higher levels of performance) and club support for off‐field life were able to predict 5.5% of the variance in coaches’ subjective ratings of the players' performance. According to the study, these results are also consistent with contemporary human resources investigations that support the link between the holistic support of employees, their sense of work-life balance, and increased productivity. A many-sided life design of athletes, in this understanding, represents a powerful ingredient of their personal capacity, in and after the sporting career.

Another recent evaluation undertaken within the Australian National Rugby League moreover demonstrates that higher levels of engagement in preretirement planning are positively associated with team selection, team tenure, and career tenure (Lavallee, 2019). The effect on performance is exerted through the experience of career counsellors and the number of intervention support sessions the athletes participate in.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89KdxJomDzg&t=471s

System support

Considering that talent systems equal high-performance environments which strive to maximise their output, the support of athletes' off‐field lives should therefore be seen as an integral part of development plans in sport. With reference to the aforementioned importance of the perceived value of undertaken measures, the quest for meaning becomes a crucial factor for mental health, adolescent flourishing and performance enhancement.

Meaning requires the maintenance and constant re-definition of the individual relation of athletes to the enormous investments they are willing to make. Finding answers on "What does this have to do with me?" or "What am I doing this for?" is key to an intrinsically motivated pursuit of personal goals, integrating sport and education. This highlights the significance of specialized counselling staff contracted by high-performance systems, such as dual career counsellors, lifestyle advisors or player development managers.

The right place

When it comes to counselling of athletes, its strategic positioning as an external service can be advisable, especially in professional clubs that have not yet fully embraced dual career in their overall system culture. Here, the service is delivered by a non-system professional. This approach roots in the conviction that certain cultural circumstances require holistic counselling (touching sporting, educational/vocational and private spheres of life) to be better only provided but not run by the inner system itself. Instead, such systems promote the creation of a neutral space that needs to be made evident to the athletes.

Proven and tested, athletes substantially benefit from an independent expectation-free zone beyond sport coaches, agents, teachers, parents or peers; as they do from a counselling service that is detached from systemic bonds. This being a multi-dimensional task, a functional inter-connection with sport, education, psychology or other internal service units is naturally required.

According to this positioning, counselling is enabled to consistently commit to one thing only: the athlete and their individual pursuit of a meaningful pathway in the world of high-level sport.

TW1N has a broad track record as a trusted partner of various European high-performance environments, both at talent and senior level. Want to know more? Click here to see what TW1N can do for your institution.

References

  • Lavallee, D. (2019): Engagement in Sport Career Transition Planning Enhances Performance. In: Journal of Loss and Trauma 2019, VOL. 24, NO. 1, 18
  • Saunders, J. & Pink, M. (2014): The Relationship between Player Off‐field Engagement and On‐field Performance: Final Report. An AFL Research Board Study

Note: In the study of Saunders/Pink (2014), dual career development is referred to as "alternative career development" (ACD).


Elite swimmer

New EU project AtLAS - Athletes as Entrepreneurs

AtLAS is a pioneering entrepreneurship training for athletes. An innovative start-up course serves to enhance both the theoretical and practical competences of high-level athletes across Europe who are considering to found their own business; now or at a later stage of life. TW1N is honoured to counsel the strategic development of AtLAS which will run its first training in October 2021.

Athletes make great entrepreneurs

Skills cultivated on any playing field serve athletes beyond their sporting careers, also when it comes to entrepreneurship. AtLAS supports athletes in pursuing their business ambitions. The training approach will offer athletes a most flexible and hands-on study approach to learn new skills and advance their careers.

AtLAS aims to strengthen athletes’ knowledge about starting and running a business, foster entrepreneurial spirit among European athletes and sport governing bodies, connect spheres of higher education and sport to foster dual career pathways of athletes, and, increase the number of well-prepared company creations.

The consortium

AtLAS represents a joint venture of academics in the field of sport and entrepreneurship and dual career practitioners, uniting the following international institutions:

AtLAS logo

Compact, flexible, free of charge

Just as in sport, AtLAS focuses on what is essential to success. Athletes will be provided with the most innovative methods in entrepreneurship. The blended learning concept will consist of obligatory online and optional on-site training. The virtual modules are delivered via a 5-weeks MOOC (massive open online course), freely accessible for athletes across Europe and beyond. The optional on-site courses are held at 6 selected European universities in Austria, Denmark, Italy, The Netherlands, Scotland and Slovenia.

Moreover, an accompanying mentoring programme in cooperation with European business experts will support the participants in further shaping their business ideas. The final AtLAS pitching event in Amsterdam will give an extraordinary stage to the most thrilling business ideas of European athletes.

Graduates of AtLAS will be awarded an EQF 4 certificate. Funded by the European Union, the training is free of charge. The full programme is available to athletes recognized by a sport-governing body, or another accredited body, as competing at minimum national level.

If you are an athlete interested in joining AtLAS, please get in touch with us to register as an early bird.

 

© Anze Malovrh / kolektiff

Nations' and clubs' representatives from all over Europe met in Vienna, Austria for the WHF Conference for Strengthening the Women’s Handball Network. In a joint approach with the European Handball Federation, TW1N was honoured to present the commonly developed RESPECT YOUR TALENT programme to the international public.

The conference provided updates on the European women’s handball strategic objectives. Within these, RESPECT YOUR TALENT takes on an important role. The programme assists (here: female) talented athletes to better cope with the current demands of competitive youth handball, and, proactively prepare for the upcoming demands of professional handball.

To this end, in the programme’s pioneering approach, the world’s best handball players supported by leading field experts inspire and instruct young athletes covering topics such as dual career, well-being, integrity of sport, media or sports law.

TW1N is responsible for the methodical and dedactical concept of RESPECT YOUR TALENT. Find more information on the programme here.

 

RESPECT YOUR TALENT Keynote
TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger at the WHF Conference 2020 © EHF