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NEWS: In a milestone project in the academic certification of education in sport, 13 EHF Master Coaches have successfully graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria

13 EHF Master Coaches receive their academic Master’s degree

A sort of ‘classroom atmosphere’ could be sensed in the EHF Office in Vienna on Thursday. A meeting room had been turned into a space for preparation and one could see several people, some of them well-known handball coaches, wandering around – visibly deep in thought.

Thursday marked the day on which 13 EHF Master Coaches had the opportunity to receive a Master’s degree from the University of Las Palmas on Gran Canaria.

It was another climax in the established partnership between the European Handball Federation and the Spanish university.

In a nutshell, this aspect of the partnership allows handball coaches, who are in possession of the Master Coach Diploma within the EHF RINCK (Coaching) Convention (after having attended either national courses certified by the EHF or EHF courses), to enter the final stages of the new postgraduate Master degree, the MSc. EHF Master Coach.

They then need to complete and pass a final project, i.e. Master's thesis, to gain a Master's degree.

The previously attended Master Coach course will be acknowledged by the university in line with the European Bologna system.

"It is a novel and unique degree at the international level and represents a milestone in the cooperation between university and sport organisations," says José María Lorenzo Nespereira, the university’s Director of Lifelong Learning.

A wide range of topics

The topics chosen by the first 13 EHF Master Coaches to enter the new Master’s degree covered all aspects of modern handball.

Gregor Cvijic, the coach of Slovenian VELUX EHF Champions League participants RK Gorenje Velenje, analysed the game in the context of seven attackers on 6 defenders.

“The game has changed a lot through this,” he said. “Personally I’m not a fan of the system as such, but as a coach you should know everything about it in order to be able to prepare your team and in order to analyse your opponents’ game.

“Dealing on the academic level with this topic has helped me a lot. It really opens your mind.”

Dragan Djukic, who has been coaching Montenegro’s men’s team since 2016 and will lead them to the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia, focused on the preparation for the game.

“It’s not the coaches who eventually take to the court, but the players,” he summarises his player-centred model. It moves away from the coach attempting to convey his players certain systems, but rather focusses on the players own knowledge and their experiences.

“I tend to call coaches not coaches but supporting staff”, he said. “Their mission should be to support the players to become better.”

“How to develop intelligent and creative players” was the topic chosen by Tiago Oliviera from Portugal. He developed a set of around 40 training exercises.

“I wanted to come up with a set of exercises that coaches could apply in their training. The objective was that these exercises should go beyond the pure application of a certain technique,” he said.

“Much more than that, they should strengthen the players’ decision-making skills and prepare them for a plethora of different match situations.”

In a next step, Oliveira would like to test his set of exercises and compare them to more traditional methods of coaching.

And he will be able to do so as graduated EHF Master Coach as all participants successfully defended their thesis.

The jury was composed of Prof. Miguel Betancor (2nd from the left), the well-known basketball referee legend and academic director of the programme, Pedro Sequiera (right) from the EHF Methods Commission and Carmen Manchado from the EHF Competitions Commission.

The project’s coordination lies with Helmut Höritsch (left), the coordinator for the EHF Competence Academy & Network (CAN) and senior manager for education and development.

"This unique project in Europe will secure education, certification and employability in handball," he said.         

The successful graduates, their thesis topics and tutors

  • Uros Mohoric (SLO); EHF Master Coach since 2013: Crossfit Training Influence on motor skills of HB players / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Wolfgang Pollany (AUT); EHF Master Coach since  2012: Qualitative analysis M20 EURO 2016 in DEN / Academic Tutor: Zoltan Marczinka 
  • Gintaras Savukynas (LTU); EHF Master Coach since 2016: Analysis of FIN club Cocks in 2016/17 EHF CL/Baltic League / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Erwin Gierlinger (AUT); EHF Master Coach since 2012: Comparative analysis of 2016 EHF Men's EURO vs. AUT League / Academic Tutor: Zoltan Marczinka 
  • Zivojin Maksic (SRB); EHF Master Coach since 2016 The modern approach in teaching/training of fast break / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Nenad Sostaric (CRO); EHF Master Coach since 2016: Tactical attack play against 5:1 and 6:0 defence / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Emil-Vlad Caba (ROU): EHF Master Coach since               2014: Methodology of integration of young players into senior teams / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Dragan Djukic (SRB); EHF Master Coach since 2012: Preparation for the game (from a different perspective) / Academic Tutor: Branislav Pokrajac 
  • Zoran Abramovic (MNE); EHF Master Coach since 2016: The most efficient action during the 6:5 players ratio / Academic Tutor: Branislav Pokrajac 
  • Gregor Cvijic (SLO); EHF Master Coach since 2013: Analysis of the game in context 7 attackers on 6 defenders / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila
  • Ongaro Andrea Ongaro (IRL); EHF Master Coach since 2016: Decision-making process and methods in HB teaching / Academic Tutor: Marko Sibila 
  • Roman Filz (AUT); EHF Master Coach since 2016: Qualitative Goalkeeper Analysis EHF CL FINAL4 2017 / Academic Tutor: Klaus Feldmann
  • Oliviera Tiago (POR): EHF Master Coach since 2016: How to develop intelligent and creative young players / Academic Tutor: Marie Luisa Estriga

TEXT: EHF / ts