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.

© 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.


TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger at the WHF Conference 2020 © EHF
Cape Town Stadium aerial

Talent sport has gained a new dynamic in the last decade. The roads young athletes take on their dual career journey are increasingly bumpy and curvy. In this context, diversity, holistic athlete support and the system's approach to winning are systemic factors which substantially impact the personal pathways of youngsters. This counts for sport schools in Europe as it counts for sport schools in Africa. Last week, TW1N had the honour to address two keynotes at the ISSC Conference of independent sport schools in Cape Town, South Africa.

In his first speech, TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger illustrated the EU sport policy in the areas of dual career and talent development, presenting selected topic-specific examples of European approaches. Following, his second keynote zoomed in on the individual talent, offering alternative angles on junior athlete support by translating central ideas of Viktor Frankl's logotherapy into dual career contexts:

"Human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships, or better: relatedness. Relatedness to oneself, to others, to one's own actions. In dual career terms, meaning requires the constant re-definition of the personal relatedness to the extensive investments talents are willing to make. This link is the main precondition for a development that lives up to the potential slumbering within a person. If this link is not established, personal as well as athletic development will not only be limited but stays dependent of external factors. This cannot be the standard of talent development systems. Such systems are asked to build strategies that bring young people in touch with their actions and very own abilities which actually enable them to pursue these actions sustainably and successfully."

Wolfgang Stockinger
Founder & CEO of TW1N

TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger at the ISSC Conference in Cape Town, South Africa
Old globe

TW1N in the EU Dual Career Guidebook

The European Commission (EC) has funded the publication of a "European Guidebook of Best Practices in Dual Career". TW1N Founder & CEO Wolfgang Stockinger has been awarded to author the introductory column for this book.

In his "TW1N Perspectives" (pages 18-19), he unites many-sided views on the topic of dual career within the sport club context, spanning policy, research and practice:

"Reality check. According to a recent investigation in British professional sports, 90% of athletes need to work full-time after their sporting career. Naturally, this figure would emerge to be even higher in Olympic respectively amateur sports. With respect to the European labour market, there is consequently a necessity for athletes to pursue a dual career as longterm unemployment is three times higher among low qualified workers than among those with high qualifications. In the same moment, a dual career should be detached from sporting or financial success. In fact, monetary security only constitutes one factor to help stabilize a post-sporting life.“Retirement is like walking out of the supermarket with all your bags and not knowing where your car is.” This statement of famous former cricketer Steve Harmison embodies the multi-dimensional challenge waiting for athletes at the normative or non-normative end of their sporting career. Head (with reference to structure), heart (recognition) and belly (intuition) need to find a new balance. In other words, the inner compass of athletes must recalibrate itself to point towards meaningful future ways.

Our human compass essentially roots in values. Values help us establish and maintain a relationship to the person in us, our true "Self". This person (from Latin personare, “to sound through”) longs to become manifest in our actions. For an athlete, sport serves as a most powerful way of expression. However, we all carry a variety of passions, interests and talents which have the desire to be heard. In this regard, it is a long-standing psychological finding that people with a broad foundation of versatile values are more robust and crisis-proof than those whose concept of life is constructed around just one central value.

After years of working with athletes of all ages, it is my strong conviction that the individualized exploration and realization of meaningful life aside from sports halls, football pitches or ski slopes is a supreme factor in athletic development. Where there is human flourishing, there is mental health and, coherently, performance enhancement. This is the sporting dimension of dual careers. Highlighting this dimension and, more importantly, making it comprehensible will substantially strengthen the valuation of dual careers among both athletes and sport systems. Role models are the most efficient communicators of this new understanding: “To the young athlete, don’t bet everything on your health, take control of your life and keep educating yourself. Learn and believe that smartening up is also a way to become a better, more complete athlete”, according to Vincent Kompany.

Within the sport system, clubs play a vital part in the future progress of Dual career in Europe. Often, they represent the main structural layer surrounding talented and elite athletes, in amateur as well as in professional sports. Therefore, clubs are asked to create a clear image on how to contribute to an integrated developmental space for their athletes. A tailored internal management system, collaborative partnerships with the educational and economic sector and a systemic openness to international best practice may serve as core pillars of a coordinated Dual Career approach. As a result, strategic measures on club level do not only signify a lived corporate social responsibility but further promise a concrete athletic return on investment: “Club support for off‐field life, quality of free time, and time spent in social life predicted 21% of the variance in athletic engagement for early career players.”

To conclude, a dual career is so much more than just a safety net, so much more than just securing livelihood and so much more than just a future tool. Rather, a dual career should be seen as a metaphor for the aforementioned passions, interests and talents and, hence, a metaphor for stability, balance and meaning, during and after a sporting career. Education itself only serves as the 'carrier molecule' of the manifold potentiality of athletes. This happens in the name of a greater cause and leads to a multi-directional impact: in favour of the athlete, in favour of sport, education and economy, and, in favour of the European community."

Find the European Guidebook of Best Practices in Dual Career for free download here.