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NEWS: Two topics close to the heart of the EHF Methods Commission took to the stage at the Scientific Conference in Cologne on Friday

EHF Scientific Conference: Wheelchair handball and youth coaching

Two more topics important to the EHF – wheelchair handball and the coaching of children – were presented at the fifth EHF Scientific Conference on Friday morning.

Next month the EHF will hold the fourth edition of the European Wheelchair Handball Nations Tournament in Zagreb.

Grzegorz Więcław gave the audience an insight into how wheelchair handball has become a more popular sport for people to play as there is a limited number of wheelchair team sports available to those with a disability.

Więcław highlighted the need for more marketing and promotion of wheelchair handball and argued that if wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball – two very similar disciplines which are part of the Paralympic Games programme – why isn’t wheelchair handball?

The interest in wheelchair handball continues to grow – an example of this can be seen on the EHF’s YouTube channel. Last year’s Croatia versus Portugal match in the Nations Tournament has been viewed almost 80,000 times in the space of just one month.

Is sport good for children?

Another subject close to the EHF’s heart is a free education and coaching initiative iCoachKids, which was presented by Sergio Lara-Bercial.

Lara-Bercial opened the session by asking the question “is sport good for children?” He proceeded to tell the audience that while the obvious answer is “yes” there are occasions why, sadly, this is not the case.

Usually this comes as a result of overtraining, injuries and burnt-out, which leads to a number of children giving up on the sport completely.

Lara-Bercial likened coaching of youngsters to a game of tetris, where regardless of their physical and mental capabilities, children are taught the same. Coaches often struggle to find methods of training children of the same age but who vary in physical and technical development.

“Children are not mini adults,” he said. “We have to look at sport through the eyes of the child. We need to make the sport fit the child, not the other way round.”

Realising that children should be coached in a more rounded and focused way, Lara-Bercial introduced the iCoachKids project, which aims to help children from all backgrounds enjoy playing sport.

iCoachKids also aims to help the children develop their own skills, not just their sporting talent, as well as targeting parents and engaging with them in order to help them keep their children active and interested in sport.

The non-for-profit project has an extensive YouTube channel containing a number of education and planning videos. Click here to find out more about iCoachKids and here to view their YouTube channel


TEXT: EHF/ab