From July 6 to 8, the Serbian mountain Divčibare hosted experts as part of the project “Creating Life Champions”, all with the aim of creating practical tools that can support in a concrete way the coaches of younger categories to act more as educators and pedagogues.
Representatives of three sectors – education, sports and youth gathered in order to discuss various topics of importance for the future module, each from their own point of view. They talked about motivation, the code of ethics, human rights in sports, but also practical instruments for acting in a sports context, such as various educational games, which football coaches should also start using.
Youth workers, psychologists, pedagogues, lawyers, human rights experts, sports actors from Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkiye, Macedonia, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina gathered with a common goal – to find a way to provide coaches of younger categories with a concrete support in efforts to put the focus in sports firstly on creating the top people – life champions, and only then the top athletes – sports champions.
The module should offer answers to a series of questions and conclusions that, during the research of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory in 7 countries involved, were nominated by the coaches themselves. Aleksandar Pavlović, coordinator of the research team, together with his associate Ivana Parčina, presented the same to the experts present as an introduction to further discussion.
“During the next three-month period, the expert group will try to finalize development of a practical tool – module, primarily on the basis of the conducted research, the first of this kind and scope in sports. The same would provide coaches with answers to the questions of how to approach young athletes in a simple, accessible and comprehensible way, acting as true pedagogues and educators. A large number of publications already deal with some of the topics that this group will work on, but most of them approach them theoretically, without consulting the coaches as the most important link in the process, regarding practical application on the field. We need a tool, a brochure, material that trainers will be happy to browse eager for additional useful information, and that is why we are particularly happy that coaches are part of our expert group as well. The football clubs Ludogorets, which is the champion of Bulgaria, Antalyaspor, recognized for its work in Turkiye, Gorica from Croatia and RFK Grafičar, rich in examples of good practice on the topic of socially responsible functioning in sports and the community, have delegated their sports representatives and they will be the first filter before disseminating expert ideas to the wider sports community”, said Aleksandra Knežević, coordinator of the Life Champions concept, during the meeting.
At the meeting, responsibilities and deadlines have been defined, and a series of online consultations and exchange of materials and proposals will follow before the final meeting of the expert group and the adoption of the proposal that will be presented to the project consortium.
Project “Creating Life Champions” is implemented with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children and the European Commission through the ERASMUS+ program in the field of sports.