The “Play to Train” project team met in Rome from 4th to 6th October 2019, taking part in a training course that involved 30 participants from 3 countries: Italy, Slovenia and Bulgaria.

The project was carried out by OPES and its partners, Academy Rudi Hiti and Champion Factory. It aims to support women’s participation as coaches in the sport field and to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality.

The Italian Team #WhenWomenCoach

During the two days of training in Rome, the participants of the Play to Train project ideated and planned activities to be carried out within their local contexts.

The Italian team team members worked together with the aim of proposing activities with common objectives and based on a common strategy to be implemented in 6 regions and involving different sports disciplines.

Since November, behind the slogan #WhenWomenCoach, each member of the team has been working in their own territorial context with girls aged between 12 and 19 years.

During the first phase, the team focused its work on the creation of a questionnaire aimed at collecting the expectations, skills and interests of the participants in the activities with the goal of adapting them to the specific needs of each target group.

The strategy identified and followed by all the team members involved the girls participants as actors in the preparation and management of the workouts once a week. For each group, a mentor was identified with the task of guiding the participants in a reflection on their experience.

Proceedings in Piemont

In Northern Italy, the member of the Play to Train team is Dr. Pierantonio Soldato (expert VI Dan of Ju Jitsu). After taking part in the preparation of the questionnaire, Pierantonio proceeded to collect information from the participants in the activity in order to plan the activity itself.

The path was not easy. Some of the main difficulties encountered by the girls in the first phase were dealing with their own insecurities and anxieties due to the fear of making mistakes or being judged. Maintaining a constant dialogue has been an important component in overcoming these initial barriers. A second fundamental aspect was the preparation and programming of the lessons held by the girls, which allowed them to lead the path with greater awareness.

Pierantonio himself underlined how, after overcoming a first phase of curiosity, the complementarity and complicity that arose among the girls allowed them to face their own insecurities. This progress was perceived by the whole group and acted as an engine to create an environment in which each component felt comfortable.

A second phase of the activity has recently started, during which the girls were asked to directly follow small groups of 3 or 4 people. They were instructed to improve the technical part of the discipline as well as warm-up and the preparation phase. A phase of reflection on the emotions that the girls feel during the activity has been added to this phase, creating spaces where participants can eventually share their feelings.

We will continue to follow the activity in the coming weeks.

The next appointment is in Slovenia from 17 to 19 April

The activities carried out in the three countries and their results will be presented during the next meeting in Bled, Slovenia, from 17 to 19 April, when the 3 national teams will meet to evaluate together the path taken and to work on the preparation of guidelines that support clubs and sports associations to increase the participation of women in the sport field, in the role of coach.

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