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Building the Future

by Claudio Bluck

Undoubtedly the health situation ist affected our continent and the world very hard during 2020 and that is will still project on this 2021, has deprived us of the most visible face of all sports activity: competition.

Not being able to develop competitive activities and that athletes cannot occupy their natural habitat has been something quite difficult to cope with. But it also offered a chance to reinvent itself in all the remaining areas, since while being on the court is the most attractive, the most interesting and the most passionate activity, it is not the only one that we must develop.

And we must not forget that being able to be on the court depends on a lot of previous work so that this final instance, the most attractive, without a doubt the most visible, can be successful.

That is why we decided to title this note “Building the Future”, which is part of the work that the Development Commission has embarked on by taking in its hands the training projects that seek to help improve the best, and catapult those who suffer a competitive gap so important that even some countries still prefer to withdraw from events that would allow them to achieve important experiences and that would undoubtedly help them to grow and develop their national handball.

There is a development gap in our countries,” says Cecilia Hernández. She chairs the Handball Federation of El Salvador, which is why she is very clear about the distance between Central America and the giants in the south of the continent. And even within this very South of America, the development of the countries has not been similar. Reasons? Many. Solutions? Begin to work.

That is Cecilia’s main motivation to preside over the Development Commission of the of South and Central America Handball Confederation , together with Alejandro Acosta, current Secretary of the Uruguayan Handball Federation and Reidel Girón, President of the Honduras Handball Federation. And they summoned a first level technical team to support the ideas and projects that allow COSCABAL to start working seriously on reducing this competitive and development gap in handball.

Diego Soto (Spa) Technical Director of the Development Commission, Eduardo Gallardo (Arg) and Pablo Greco (Bra) make up this work team that has sustained a permanent and tireless activity during this strange 2020.

“Under this premise, the COSCABAL Development Commission took on this challenge of starting to work by initiating the execution of the training plans, approaching the National Federations, connecting them with all the educational projects that have been built and started their execution under one comprehensive look, after having carried out an exhaustive diagnosis and projection of the member countries ”, its President tells us.

“We know the strengths of our countries, the quality of the human resources available, in addition to the challenge of empowering countries with a high level of development and those seeking to star in regional and international competitions,” she says.

COSCABAL’s Development Plan

The Development plan, which was officially presented to the Confederation on September 30, 2020, is made up of 3 main axes:

-School Handball.
-Training and specialization of technicians and coaches.
-Competent athletes.

The reality that confronted us the COVID effect, faced us changed an important part of how to develop the ideas with which the Development Commission started. Thus, they were soon able to take advantage of the different distance education platforms, understanding that it is possible to reach all corners of America in a virtual way with an immediacy not previously incorporated in the traditional training heritage.

In this way it was that within the guidelines that had been decided to implement and with the aim of strengthening the axis of Training and Specialization of Trainers, a series of actions were carried out whose result was considered successful by its promoters and which were specified in a series of courses aimed at coaches of different levels:

International Handball Training: April 20 to May 1. It was aimed at Coaches from the countries of the South and Central American Handball Confederation and the North and Caribbean Handball Confederation. It had the participation of 185 coaches and virtually brought together speakers of a high technical level, such as Julio Sainz, Jorge Dueñas, Diego Soto, Rafael Guijosa, Mat Olsson, Craig Rot, Frantisek Taborsky. In addition, the IHF actively participated through the President, Dr. Hassan Mustafá and Mr. Dietrich Späte.

Cycle of Conferences for coaches: From July 29 to August 7 It allowed the update on handball training issues, with the speakers Isidoro Martínez, Luis Javier Chirosa, Jenaro Félix Baz, Juan Fernando Oliver, Pablo Juan Greco, Eduardo Gallardo, Mateo Garralda and María Luisa Estriga .

School Handball Talks Cycle: From October 12 to 15. The last part of the training was dedicated exclusively to school handball, a fundamental pillar for the activity, guiding this cycle towards the bases and foundations of sports initiation to handball. On this occasion, the speakers from America participated actively: Juliana Pacheco, Manuel Gómez, Martín Duhau, Juan Fernández Romero, Alejandro Trejo, Luisa Estriga, David Barahona and Pablo Juan Greco.

In addition to the training cycles, parallel actions were established that should be highlighted by the scope that their development has in the generation, adaptation and application of responses by COSCABAL in order to make support actions viable for each of the National Federations that integrate it, considering that their realities present common characteristics, but also particularities that require adaptations to achieve that their result is successful. In this direction, the following activities should be highlighted:

Technical Nexos of School Handball of the National Federations, which connects them to COSCABAL through monthly meetings with the Development Commission for the planning of training activities, guidance on projects and plans in this area of ​​both COSCABAL and IHF related to in school handball.

GACENE National Coaches School Project, a support and creation group for the National Coaches Schools, which has been presented to all member countries. In the words of Diego Soto, “the meaning of this project can be interpreted as differentiating in the Region, thus achieving progress in the autonomy of each country to meet the specific qualitative and quantitative training needs.” As part of the activities, specific meetings have been held with countries that will be implementing this project in their National Federations as of 2021.

A no less important point that cannot be overlooked, Cecilia Hernández tells us, is “the agreement managed with the University of León, Spain, which was formalized on October 30. Through this agreement, the South and Central America Handball Confederation will be supporting its training programs, as well as establishing a Network of Universities belonging to the Confederation, to support the training of Teachers of Physical Education in Handball ”.

Formers Training

When trying to explain what the objective of the School of Trainers is, Eduardo Dady Gallardo highlights the relevance that COSCABAL itself decides to implement it, since “as a mother entity, it is essential to work on development especially in our continent, where I believe that development is very low. I think the most important point is to be able to give the coaches tools that allow the growth of our sport in the countries, because ultimately the engine of the development of the boys are the coaches and the more trained and more capable they are be, will come out better players. So it seems to me essential that the development of training is done from the mother entity to the coaches and teachers for them to have greater and better tools, especially in those countries that have not yet managed to generate their own training nucleus. “

An important issue that arises is whether what is sought is to generate a “COSCABAL School”, as we know the Spanish, German or French School about how to approach the game and its various aspects.

On this point, Gallardo tells us that “being able to know the idiosyncrasies of different countries is what makes the difference with other schools. Here what is being sought is to tailor it and according to the reality of each country. So, the accompaniment of teachers and coaches seems fundamental to me. Starting from the premise of training new trainers and doing it through coaches a lot of experience, a lot of route, seems fundamental to me and that this identity of our continent also seems to me something that makes a difference. What we had was that a mainly Spanish or French or German current was coming and everything was coming from there. Being able to have references from us, from our countries who are in charge of this, seems fundamental to me. This idea of ​​the Development Commission that this School is largely made by coaches from America seems to me fundamental to the reality of our countries, which is totally different from what Europe is in everything related to development and training ”.

When asking Diego Soto what his motivation is to continue developing his work at COSCABAL he tells us “without a doubt that the development of handball in the region and belonging to an organization as vigorous as the South and Central American Handball Confederation, with many projects and all of them exciting.

And without a doubt he fully shares what Dady said regarding the importance of working on development through training, where one of the most important axes is the National School of Trainers, since he adds “I firmly believe that South and Central America can become a fundamental region for world handball and not only for those teams that obtain or those nations that obtain great successes, but also for raising the average level of the region and that is based on the integral development of all the countries that what make up ”.

And for this, one of the additional contributions that his presence within the technical team means and that complements what was expressed by his colleague is “that experience of having lived together and having trained, having developed handball or tried to develop handball on both sides of the world, in Europe and in America and give that connection and be able to maintain and develop those nuclei that are necessary within America ”.

It should be noted that this project is connected to a large part of the projects of the Development Commission, since it ranges from the school environment, through the training of university teachers and trainers in the National Schools.

The Playground

Without a doubt, the great players of our continent, the Chilean Salinas, the Argentine Simonet, Thiagus Petrus or Haniel Langaro, Marisol Carratú, Duda, Fachinello from Brazil, Faria from Paraguay, Cancio, Grosso or López from Uruguay, they would not exist if hadn’t started on a playground. For this reason, one of the columns that the handball cathedral in South and Central America must support is the initiation work with our children, a task that the IHF has implemented some time ago through the Handball at School program, today directed by Ilona. Hapkova and whose manager in our continent is Pablo Greco.

On this important topic, Professor Greco tells us “the introduction to handball in the different countries of America is carried out via physical education classrooms at school. For this reason, the training of teachers to offer their students attractive games and activities that are related to the practice of handball is essential to motivate children and young people for our sport. A quality handball practiced in the school, with certainty will result in the training of high-level players. In this situation, the qualification of teachers to teach handball is a cornerstone to motivate themselves to training as coaches and guarantee a quality process for the development of the modality throughout the continent ”.

To close this brief note on the work of the Development Commission in 2020 and to tell us about their expectations for 2021, its President Cecilia Hernández tells us “we look forward to 2021 that will allow us to carry out our training projects for coaches: The establishment of National Schools in the member countries, as well as launching the COSCABAL Training School for Coaches and as a result having more handball players and start to closing the development gap in our countries, understanding that the development of Handball is a shared commitment with each member country of this Confederation ”.

Without a doubt, from our positions, from the greatest athletes of our continent to the fans who yearn to cheer on their colors, we hope that growth will reach all of America. Accessing better training conditions brings us closer competitively. We see that the way is being prepared to improve the quality of training work, which has a direct impact on the level of athletes.

The challenge remains for all of America to come together in a great championship, where the South and the Center compete as equals for the continental crown, where once again sport is the builder of the Americanist dream.

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