Football coaches of younger categories should be considered an important link in the upbringing and education of children and youth, and not only people who deal with their physical performance and guide them towards top results – this is one of the central conclusions reached, after intensive discussions and dynamic workshops at the regional networking event being part of the “Creating Life Champions” project.
Representatives of RFK Grafičar from Belgrade, HNK Gorica from Velika Gorica, FC Željezničar from Sarajevo, FC Sloga from Doboj, Academy Pandev from Strumica, ŽFK Borec from Veles and DEKI5 camp from Belgrade had the opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences, but also examples of good practice in working with children and young people, first of all focusing on the educational and pedagogical role of sports in creating top people, and only then top athletes.
Gathered coaches had been acquainted with the findings from the research on the role and position of coaches today, which was carried out in the previous period by the research team of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory of the University of Belgrade, and then they discussed various elements of the module for more intense introduction of non-formal and informal education into regular sports activities.
During the gathering, attendees also received a number of useful information on how to make the socially responsible actions of their football clubs more interesting for the media, but also which regional and international donor funds are willing to support possible new ideas and initiatives of actors in the field of sports.
“It is our obligation, especially due to specific moment in which the society is, to fight even harder for everything that we have focused on from the very beginning of our work – solidarity, tolerance, understanding, fair play, positive values, regional cooperation and connecting. We are aware that, in addition to parents and schools, sports coaches are also an important link in a child’s education, because they are a role model. Our motto is – children go to school because they have to, and to sports because they want to, and that in itself speaks of the authority a sports coach has, and the power of positive influence he/she can exert. Therefore, the whole concept of Life Champions is focused on the coach as a pedagogue, on the educator who is in the mission of creating outstanding people, life champions, and not on the coach as an actor who is focused on the result and the creation of sports champions”, said during the meeting Aleksandra Knežević, the concept coordinator.
Regional consultative meeting and networking of coaches as part of the project “Creating Life Champions” is realized with the support of the UEFA Foundation for Children, while the company AMS Insurance, a long-time partner and sponsor of various activities within the concept of Life Champions, also made an additional contribution to the quality of its implementation.