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21.08.2013, 13:30
‘Travelling coach’ Bent Dahl helps developing handball in Georgia
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The 42-year-old EHF Master Coach worked with young Georgian handball talents as part of the national federation’s SMART project to further develop the sport in the lead up to the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival
 

‘Travelling coach’ Bent Dahl helps developing handball in Georgia

The distance between Drammen, a medium-sized Norwegian town just south-west of Oslo, and Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is more than 3,000 kilometres as the crow flies.

The gap between the level of Norwegian and Georgian handball cannot be measured in kilometres – however, it is arguably fair to say that it exists.

But there is one man from Drammen who travelled to Tbilisi at the start of August to start working on slowly closing that gap.

42-year-old Bent Dahl, EHF Master Coach, former coach of Norway’s junior handball team and handball consultant who currently trains the boys’ team of Drammen HK following many years at the helm of the men’s team, spent one week in Georgia where he intensively worked with 19 players (all born in 1998 and 1999) and a number of coaches.

“I had a very positive first impression. The players are physically very good; there are good shooters among them. And they have good players in every position,” Dahl told eurohandball.com.

The Norwegian’s stay was financed via the European Handball Federation’s SMART agreement with Georgia which funds projects aimed at the further development of handball in the Eastern European nation.

The agreement was signed in November 2011 and will run until October 2014.

Ambition and motivation

One of Georgia’s main aims is to build up a strong junior’s team for the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival which will be held in Tbilisi.

“The Georgian Handball Federation has set itself the ambitious goal to use this opportunity and seriously work towards the revival and further development of handball in the country,” explained the federation’s Secretary General, Ketevan Koberidze.

“The young players born in 1998 and 1999 who will be eligible for the upcoming event are the major focal point for the federation and the Ministry for Sports and Youth Affairs for the time being.”

While being in Georgia, Bent Dahl conducted several training sessions developing the players’ tactical skills and also employing different playing systems.

He also held various meetings and video analysis sessions with the coaching staff.

“Everyone was very motivated and very excited to learn new things about handball,” says Dahl who worked for the first time in his career as a so-called ‘travelling coach’.

“And they were also all very motivated to get Georgian handball back on the map.”

Meeting the minister

Koberidze is full of praise for the Norwegian: “He showed the best qualities of a modern handball coach who is willing to work outside of Norway and share his knowledge and experience with coaches and players of other countries. 

“He applied a good combination of theoretical and practical knowledge as well as openness to convey and share his expertise. His theoretical course included the application of modern IT technologies to facilitate coaches’ work in order make it more productive and efficient. 

“As for the practical exercises, he was personally involved in the training of players which proved to be very helpful. He provided the coaches with a draft training programme to build up day-to-day training plans in order to achieve serious improvements.”

And to Dahl’s surprise his stay in Georgia did not end with the training camp but also included a meeting with Levan Kipiani, the Georgian Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs.

“I was a little bit surprised but it was also quite cool,” admits Dahl. “The minister was very positive towards the further development of the sport.

“It was important to see that there is support from the ministry as well as from the entire federation.”

Looking into further cooperation

If all works to plan, the Norwegian-Georgian handball cooperation is set to continue as a Foster agreement between the two federations and the EHF is about to be signed.

“It would be ideal if we receive such assistance on a regular basis and we will be more than happy if Bent has opportunity to travel to Georgia again under the Foster programme to work with Georgian coaches in training this particular age category,” says Koberidze.

Bent Dahl would be ready for some future trips to Georgia.

“This was a good start. I’m motivated to help the federation for another two years,” he said.

The basics of SMART and Foster

Initiated in 2001, SMART projects offer long-term support to developing nations via a three-year agreement.

SMART stands for “specific, milestones, accepted, realistic, and time-limited” and is one of the EHF’s development programmes.

The aim is to foster the development of grassroots handball for 10 to 18-year-olds based on three supporting activities: the nomination of EHF lecturers, equipment supply and limited financial project-based support.

Launched in 2007, the Foster Project aims to establish cooperation between nations where handball is established and emerging nations.

The EHF tries to encourage the more developed handball federations to adopt an emerging handball nation. These federations then receive support and assistance, also from the EHF, based on a mutual agreement, and for a certain period of time.

The idea is to establish a well-functioning system adapted to the needs and preconditions of the respective national federations by nomination of lecturers to courses, inviting teams to competitions, inviting participants to national courses, exchanging publications and materials, exchanging technical documentation and allowing a look behind the science of successful handball management.

Photos courtesy of Bent Dahl and the Georgian Handball Federation


TEXT: EHF / ts
 
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