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Albanian Football Association’s coaches learn about “fair-play” football and psychosocial development of children


April 10th 2012 Tirana Albania: A new milestone was reached in the collaboration process with the Albanian Football Association (FShF), as 11 football professionals, including coaches and referees for children, as well as the FShF regional director and one professor of the Sports School in the region of Durrës met for the first day of training on the MGS methodology promoted by the “MOVE Project”. Most of these professionals serve as coaches for some hundred children in the region of Durrës, including many from families and communities in difficult socio-economic situations.
After expressing his interest to familiarise the FShF coaches with the MOVE’s MGS methodology and its “fair-play” football principles based on the new psychosocial manual, Mr. Edmond Prodani FshF Secretary-General, was supportive of the idea to start such training sessions in the region of Durrës, where Mr. Dritan Babamusta, former football champion and current FShF Regional Director, was actively engaged in organizing the training. Commenting on the important elements of this first day of training, he stated: “It was significant to see new and different games played on the field and the exchange of opinions between the coaches and with the trainers, when it comes to effective coaching and communication with children they work with.”
The training started with a few introduction exercises, using the traditional football elements in new and creative ways. These games were appreciated by the participants for their role in introducing new children to a team and to each other in a fun and natural way that aims at developing their attention, memory, coordination and agility skills._ “It was interesting to see how the nervous system became fully alert when it came to getting to know the others while playing”_ said Mr. Odise Soko, coach for children. After sharing expectations and fears on the training, the participants felt emotionally closer to one other. The session was followed by a “fair-play” football game, including its creative warm-up and cool-down parts. As two of the participants were female referees, the special ‘gender’ rules of “fair-play” football put them in the position of being the ones to be assisted pro-actively by their male team players to score the first two goals. During the feedback on that game and based on their experience with it, the coaches made concrete connections with the practice of their work, difficulties faced with children, and new ways of overcoming those challenges. Sharing his impressions on the games and the session, Mr. Fatos Kuçi, Chief of the Football Department at the Sports School in Durrës added: “The technical-tactical games and situations were full of fantasy at a professional leve*l” whereas *Mr. Albano Doraci, coach, said: “… I realised that every small detail has its importance and impact on the children, football and the coach as well.”
The following session was focused on ‘Communication’ where the participants were actively engaged in exercises and discussions on the prerequisites for effective communication and the challenges driving the refrom. “Addressing the communication situations from a psychosocial viewpoint was very interesting, “ added Mr. Kuçi. The session served as an appetiser for future monthly training sessions on the management of emotions, leadership, conflict resolution issues, as well as how to keep the spirit of the team while promoting “positive competition”. Mr. Durim Shtini, a veteran football player and senior coach, shared his impressions on the learning of this day: “The human being was born to, and until his last breath should, always learn new and simple things.”
Commenting on the overall relevance of this first training day, Mr. Gaël Rennesson, Tdh Psychosocial/MGS Regional Adviser and co-trainer during this training, stated: _“This training day was positive to link our methodology with the experience of the football coaches, in order to approach their needs in a concrete way. Some elements were already integrated in their practice (how to build an attractive activity and learn new skills on communication). A lot of smiling exchanges on their daily challenges with children were addressed, like the concept of leadership and how to manage parents who put pressure on children’s performance. For me it is definitely a starting point where we can share on better practices to improve their efficiency and work with children… as both our goals are the same, e.g. developing the kids competences and approaching them in a holistic way.”
This activity, among many others of the MOVE Project in Albania, aiming at the psychosocial well-being of children through movement, games and sport, takes place within the framework of the close collaboration with the FShF, including the co-organisation of several regional events for beneficiary children from partner organisations and institutions, applying “fair-play” football and other psychosocial games, through the generous funding of UEFA until the end of June 2012. [E.P.]