Handball legends pass on knowledge to next generation

Talented handball players from 10 European countries gathered alongside the EHF EURO 2022. At the Respect Your Talent Camp, co-conducted by the European Handball Federation (EHF) & TW1N, they were given the unique opportunity to work with former stars of the game.

From 20-22 January, the Respect Your Talent Camp 2022 was held in Budapest. While Europe’s best teams are battling for a medal on the court, some of the biggest male talents on the continent are investing in their off-court development to advance their young handball careers, being supported by the Respect Your Talent ambassadors Carlos Prieto (Spain), Laszlo Nagy (Hungary), Vid Kavticnik (Slovenia) and Stefan Lövgren (Sweden).

All connected

The didactical approach of Respect Your Talent, designed by TW1N, elevates the concept of role models. Promoting the holistic development of young players’ careers, handball stars pass on their unique knowledge to the future generation of European handball. In collaboration with leading field experts such as Maria Grunwald, Simona Margetic, Andreas Joklik, Hans Holdhaus, Bojana Jelicic, and Respect Your Talent co-creator Wolfgang Stockinger, the ambassadors held a set of interactive training sessions, covering the topics Dual Career, Mental Fitness, Media, Anti-Doping and Sports Law.

In the programme's belief, this approach contributes to both sustainable pathways and athletic performance as systematic off-court development substantially impacts personal and sporting developments.

“We recognize the need to support young players in their challenging development stage. The unique setting with ambassadors sharing their experiences and passion for handball with the young players is the best way to inspire and prepare them for their pro career.”
Michael Wiederer, EHF President

Having just retired last summer, former EHF Champions League winner Vid Kavticnik is aware of the importance of these topics for young players:

“I am happy and proud to be part of the ambassadors team where we are all trying to help and shape young handball diamonds. I strongly believe that this program is a game changer for many of the talents on their mission to become a pro player."

This approach seems to have substantially resonated with the talented players in Budapest:

“I think that via this camp I developed some skills that will definitely help me off and on-court. These 3 days were great and I hope that there will be more camps in the future because this was a big opportunity for us to improve our careers and success.”
Alexandru Mihai Pasca, Romania

Class of 2021 members shine at EURO

Some of the players who have been part of our Respect Your Talent activities in 2021 have already made it to the highest level of European handball. Tamas Smetanka (Slovakia), Marko Mitev (North Macedonia), Ihar Bialiausk and Kyril Samoila (Belarus) can be seen on the courts of the EHF EURO 2022.

Photo © Jure Erzen / kolektiff

Youngsters learn and get inspired at Respect Your Talent Camp

A total of 26 "Players of the Match" awarded at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO and Championships 2021 have ended their year on another high, attending the Respect Your Talent Camp in Austria, co-created by the European Handball Federation (EHF) and TW1N.

Arriving from 18 different European countries, the players gathered in Vienna from 16-18 December to meet and learn from four Respect Your Talent ambassadors: Andrea Lekic, Anja Althaus, Jelena Grubisic and Ana Gros.

In his opening statement, EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner encouraged the players to invest in their talent:

“Talent only is not enough to succeed. Improving your off-court skills will help you build your personality, increase balance in your life and thereby become an even better player. With Respect Your Talent, we support the idea of handball players as whole person-athletes. Looking at their impressive pathways, our ambassadors are perfect role models to convey this idea authentically.”

From dual career to mental fitness

The ambassadors Lekic, Althaus, Grubisic and Gros - in partnership with international experts, including Respect Your Talent co-creator and TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger - inspired the players throughout six hands-on training sessions in dual career, media, social media, sports law, anti-doping, and mental fitness.

The young talents were given the unique opportunity of personal interaction with the ambassadors, benefiting from their extraordinary first-hand experience as professional handball players. Exchanging with other aspiring players from all over Europe and making new friends within the international handball community was the icing of the cake of this event, which drew positive feedback from both players and ambassadors.

“It was the most incredible experience of my life. Meeting other athletes, girls just like me, who love handball above all things. The knowledge that I bring with me, in my head and in my heart, is unbelievable. Don’t have words to express my gratitude. Congratulations to all of you... well done! Wonderful organisation, nice people.”
Luciana Rebelo (Talented player from Portugal)

The camp ended with a proud look at the Women’s IHF World Championship 2021 and the fact that progress in a handball career may come very fast – if talents have prepared themselves properly for their big steps: with Paula Arcos (Spain), Larissa Nusser (Netherlands) and Elena Mikhaylichenko (Russia), three players of the Respect Your Talent 2019 campaign played in a direct duel against their former ambassadors Stine Oftedal and Ana Gros.

Up next are the boys: the Respect Your Talent Camp for the M19 EHF EURO/Championships 2021 generation will take place in January 2022 at Bratislava, Slovakia.

Photo © Uros Hocevar / kolektiff

RESPECT YOUR TALENT has been an affair of the heart for TW1N in 2019. Together with the European Handball Federation (EHF), we launched this programme to take responsibility for the sustainable development of talented players across Europe, on and off the court.

Didactically, the programme aims to break new grounds. In our approach, the world's best handball players inspire young athletes in a joint effort with leading experts. These sport stars act as true ambassadors of dual career and the realization of meaningful life aside from their athletic career.

 

Inspiring the future of European handball

After a successful Summer Tour, last week, the first ever EHF RESPECT YOUR TALENT Camp was held in Vienna. In 5 training sessions, 30 female players from 18 European countries had the chance to work with Olympic champion and professional photographer Kari Aalvik Grimsbø, Champions League winner and economics & finance master’s degree holder Jelena Grubišić, French Championship top scorer 2018 and tourism student Ana Gros, IHF World Player of the Year 2013 and handball academy operator Andrea Lekic, as well as Champions League winner Anja Althaus, trained technician and hairdresser.

"Given their own pathways, the RESPECT YOUR TALENT ambassadors are true role models when it comes to personal development on and off the court."

Wolfgang Stockinger
Co-Creator of RESPECT YOUR TALENT

Learning from the best: the RESPECT YOUR TALENT "Ambassador Islands" © Uros Hocevar/kolektiff

Dual career, anti-doping, sports law, on-camera and social media training

On day 1, TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger, who acts as the EHF’s Scientific Specialist on Dual Careers, and the Slovenian national team captain Ana Gros inspired the participants how education and skills outside of handball cannot only help their future vocational career but also their athletic development. Raising awareness of doping controls and procedures were then explained in detail by five-time EHF EURO champion Kari Aalvik Grimsbo and anti-doping expert Prof. Hans Holdhaus.

The following day, the camp focused on dealing with the media, concretely the use of social media and sports law. Anja Althaus and award-winning Austrian sports journalist Karoline Zobernig advised the group on how to handle media requests and answering difficult questions in interviews. The girls were then introduced to the world of social media by Andrea Lekic and the EHF’s Digital Content Manager Berenice Rallier. The pair discussed the best ways of creating content, explained what to post and what not post and gave guidance on how to protect their accounts. Signing and negotiating contracts, the dangers of match-fixing and choosing an agent were the topics explained by Jelena Grubišić. Joined by Andreas Joklik, the EHF expert for sports law, the two gave the group the lowdown on these key subjects which are often overlooked by young players.

On-camera training with Karoline Zobernig © Uros Hocevar/kolektiff

The camp also gave the girls opportunity to meet each other and the project ambassadors in a more relaxing environment. On both days, they had the opportunity to explore the Austrian capital and visit some of the most popular city attractions like the Vienna Giant Ferris wheel and the renowned Viennese Christmas market. They also learned something completely different: how to make the perfect apple strudel – an Austrian favourite.

Team building Austrian style: strudel baking at Castle Schönbrunn © Uros Hocevar/kolektiff

RESPECT YOUR TALENT continues in 2020

After our Summer Tour across Europe and the first RESPECT YOUR TALENT Camp, our project will continue in 2020 at the Men’s 18 and 20 EHF EUROs and EHF Championships. In total, seven competitions will be held over the summer of 2020 starting in July with M20 EHF EURO in Innsbruck (AUT) and Brixen (ITA) and continue with the M20 EHF Championships in Bugojno (BIH) and Riga (LAT). August will bring M18 EHF EURO in Celje (SLO) and three M18 EHF Championships in Burgas (BUL), Skopje (MKD) and Podgorica (MNE).

Happy end: the RESPECT YOUR TALENT ambassadors & Wolfgang Stockinger © Uros Hocevar/kolektiff