This week, the National Olympic Committee of Lithuania (LNOC) invited two dozen sports coaches for the sixth time to a free training on sports administration. This year, however, the participants were given an updated programme focusing on emotional intelligence and conflict management.
“We take at least two national teams a year to international Olympic events, therefore we keep a lot of contact with sports coaches. During our conversations, it became clear that sports professionals lack psychological skills most. Most of the training that coaches receive is related to technical qualification upgrading, but they also need communication and conflict management training.
Our aim is to help sports professionals to develop competences that will enable them to perform their work competently and thus contribute to the development of sport in Lithuania,” said the organiser of the training Agnė Vanagienė, Deputy Director of the LNOC Olympic Sport.
20 participants were selected to take part in the 6th session of the training, including former basketball player Donatas Slanina, Olympic athletics coach Irina Krakoviak-Tolstika, and coach of the Lithuanian U-23 rugby team Dovydas Taujanskas.
During the three-day training, Agnė Vanagienė, one of the leaders of the Lithuanian Olympic Mission, talked about the preparation for and participation in the Olympic Games, and shared her experience in the field of sports management . Together with experienced lecturer Lauras Balaiša, the coaches delved into the topics of psychology, influencing, conflict management and emotional intelligence. The last part of the training on 6 April will focus on sports medicine.
The training is being funded by the Olympic Solidarity of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
How is this year’s sports administration training for coaches different from the previous ones?
We have completely renewed the content of the training and changed the concept. We now focus on the administrative -psychological aspects of coaches’ work, with the new topics such as influencing, emotional intelligence and conflict management included.
One part of the training will be dedicated to sports medicine ‒ Paulius Petraitis, President of the Lithuanian Sports Medicine Federation, will talk about what sports coaches need to know. There are many changes in the area of health care of athletes, while practicing coaches are either not provided with this knowledge or do not update it.
Another innovation is homework. After the first part, the participants were given the task to simulate some conflict situations, which they will have to do using their emotional intelligence. We will analyse the tasks during the training in April.
Why is this knowledge important for coaches?
Coaches are like a link between the athletes, their parents and the administration, therefore it is essential that they have these skills. We see that not only coaches working with youth are changing, but also young athletes themselves, therefore it is essential to improve communication, psychological skills.
Moreover, at the end of each year’s training, the participants fill in an evaluation form, which shows a great need for conflict management training.
What kind of feedback do you get from the participants?
A large number of participants in this year’s training assured us that they had heard very good feedback from colleagues who have previously attended the training and that it is of high quality. The selection process is proof of this. We can accommodate 20 people only, while we have received twice as many applications.
As we organise the train-the-trainer course once a year only, we can ensure that the quality is high and the trainers are highly qualified.
What were the selection criteria?
First of all, of course, the participants had to satisfy qualification requirements. Then we referred to three main aspects ‒ gender equality, geographical and sports diversity criteria. Gender equality is one of the LNOC’s strategic directions, therefore we aim to have an equal number of men and women at our training. We also want to ensure that representatives of as many different sports as possible from different areas of Lithuania acquire knowledge.
The LNOC organises three sports administration training courses each year: for coaches, managers and advanced trainers. Why is it important for the organisation to contribute to the development of sports administration?
Because it is important for the sports community. The Olympic Committee is not just about the Olympic Games. It is much more than that. I am delighted that with the help of the IOC Olympic Solidarity we have the opportunity to help develop the competences of sports coaches and administrators. The higher they are, the more successful the sports federations and other organisations that develop athletes will be, and at the same time, the better the results they achieve, and, perhaps, this will determine a bigger number of our athletes competing at the Olympic Games.