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23.11.2014, 10:40
Based in two different countries, Sweden's coaches rely on efficient communication ahead of EHF EURO
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FEATURE: Apart from a good team strategy and a sense for selecting the right players, Sweden’s coaches Thomas Sivertsson and Helle Thomsen rely on Skype, phone and e-mail when it comes to preparing for the Women’s EHF EURO 2014
 

Based in two different countries, Sweden's coaches rely on efficient communication ahead of EHF EURO 2014

Usually one would not expect Skype, phone calls and e-mails to be crucial tools for coaching a handball team.

However, when it comes to Sweden’s female national team, exactly those auxiliaries prove to be very important.

Why? It is because the Swedish women are coached by two coaches who live different countries.

Since June this year Dane Helle Thomsen and former Swedish international Thomas Sivertsson together have been in charge for Sweden’s national team - and this has presented some logistic challenges.

"Skype, phone and e-mail has played a major role in the communication between us," admits Sivertsson.

While the EHF EURO 2014 will be Thomsen’s first major tournament, Sivertsson does not only have a lot of championship experience from the time when he was a Swedish international.

He was also the assistant coach for Sweden’s women at the EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia and for Portugal’s men’s team at the EHF EURO 2006.

According to him, the cooperation with Thomsen, who also coaches Danish side FY Midtjylland, has got off to a smooth start.

"It was a great advantage that Helle could be with us already in June for our final qualification matches against Slovenia and Switzerland.

"If that had not been possible, we might have had to wait until October to start working together.

"Furthermore, our preparations have benefitted from the opportunity to arrange training camps outside the normal international weeks.

"For instance, we have had a get-together in Denmark for the Swedish players who play in the Danish league, and a similar session for the players in the Swedish league," Sivertsson tells ehf-euro.com.

Sharing the duties

The two coaches have chosen not to split their roles, as some coaching duos would do. Instead, they share the duties.

"We work together on all aspects of the game. In some matches, one of us may be in charge of certain parts of the game, while the other one takes care of other duties, but apart from that we share everything," says Sivertsson.

People, who witnessed the press conference on the 12 November when the Swedish squad for the EHF EURO 2014 was announced, might have got the impression that Sivertsson was somehow the boss of the two, as he said by far the most of what was said on that occasion.

"That was only due to the fact that the press conference took place in Sweden, and that Helle may still have some difficulties with the language, and naturally, the questions were in Swedish, so you cannot deduct anything from that. We share the responsibilit," emphasises Sivertsson.

Sweden were one of the first EHF EURO 2014 participants to announce their squad for the championship.

"We wanted to give the players the security of knowing in good time in advance that they were the ones we preferred, so they could prepare without pressure, and if an injury occurs in between, we can always pick a supplementary player," he says.

Main round is the first goal

Sweden are going to play their preliminary matches in the Croatian city of Varazdin where they face co-hosts Croatia as well as Germany and Netherlands.

"As hosts, Croatia will obviously have an edge. Germany have a really good team at the moment, and the Netherlands may be the best team of them all, as they have performed some remarkable results lately.

"It is a group, in which we can win all our three matches, but where may also get into trouble against all three opponents," says Sivertsson who is reluctant to set a goal for the Swedish team.

"First of all, it is very important for us to be back at a championship after missing the World Championship last year.

"Before any major championship, we usually say that our goal is to go on from our preliminary group, and that will also be our objective this time.

"If we succeed with that, we will have to see what is possible from that point on. That obviously also depends on how many points we take with us from our preliminary group."


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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