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23.08.2013, 15:47
Common challenges for youth coaches
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INTERVIEW: Former Olympian, Lynn McCafferty, shares her experiences at the EHF Youth Coaches’ Course in Poland and the lessons she will take back to the UK
 

Common challenges for youth coaches

The Polish city of Gdansk played host to the 2013 EHF Youth Coaches’ Course from 18 to 21 August 2013.

Amongst the 60 participants from across Europe and as far afield as India, Morocco, Qatar and Japan were a number of former top players, including the 1990 World Player of the Year, Ausra Fridrikas, and London 2012 Olympian, Lynn McCafferty.

eurohandball.com spoke to McCafferty about her impressions of the course and what lessons she would be taking back home with her.

eurohandball.com: What were the highlights of the course for you?

McCaffery: I found the course really interesting and informative. 

It’s has been really great to be able watch the Euro; to see the level of that age group in different countries and to see their playing styles.

We’ve been finding out about other handball cultures in the Netherlands and Czech Republic and of course Poland. There have been many similar opinions but with some differences that can be adapted for our own culture.

It's also been good to hear about the Netherlands academy programme. We have something similar back home but lack experienced coaches to take it forward to the next level like they do in the Netherlands. 

This is something that we can do better and I think by looking at the Netherlands model it will help.

On a practical level, the EHF lecturers have been working with girls born 1998, looking at different positions on the court and ways of trying to improve individual skills, one versus one, two versus two etc. 

There have been some new passing and shooting exercises that I'm look forward to trying back home. 

eurohandball.com: What did you learn from other nations taking part?

McCafferty: We are still behind other nations with regards to handball development. But we are moving forward as more schools are playing handball, which means many more youth players are coming to clubs or there are more junior clubs starting.

When we were the development of handball we all said that we need to get handball into schools, and now this is happening. 

I found that the challenges we face were surprisingly similar: finance!

Other nations are finding it hard to develop due to the economy too, as there is no way to have full time coaches for the players to have access to.

Mostly the other countries at least had the right infrastructure in place, which we still struggle with. 

But it was interesting to hear that some of the other nations had similar struggles with their infrastructure....such as using resin and access to halls.

eurohandball.com What messages will you take back home with you?

McCafferty: We has an association should have a clearer vision for handball in Scotland, which should shared be throughout the clubs but more so for the youth sections as this is where the future is.

Of course each youth club can have their own small short term goals but as a nation we will only move forward by working together and having our youth players following the same goal.

eurohandball.com: What impact has London 2012 had on handball in the UK?

McCafferty: It has been massive!!

More people interested in handball, more people playing at youth level and more people trying at senior level.

It would be even more perfect if we could have the right people interested to enable financial backing but none the less there is a team now using the Copper Box as their home and more teams entering the league and a very big enthusiasm!!

More so than I have ever seen in my 24 years of handball in Britain! This can only be a good thing!

Will we see a British team playing in the YAC European Championships in the future?

McCafferty: We hope so!!

With so many more young people taking part in handball in Britain the standard is slowly increasing. But if we didn't have the battle we have with the economy this would be increasing much faster.

Presently we are working on trying to support the youth national teams and we hope to be much better prepared for future tournaments.

This is a work in progress but something we really, really want to happen!


TEXT: EHF / jjr
 
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