Representatives from the world of sport came together to explore the outcomes of the Erasmus Plus Sport project PsyTool on the role of sport psychology to create positive values and further social inclusion at a conference held on 28 November at Chelsea FC, London.
Under the theme ‘bridging differences: how sport contributes to cultural integration in Europe', Patrick Gasser from UEFA, Ramunas Linartas from the European Commission and former UK Sports Minister Richard Carbon explored sport’s role as a tool to bridge cultural differences and heard from a PsyTool ‘Agent of Change’, Spanish National Rowing team, Jon Carazo, trained to help create behavioural change in grassroots sport by the project.
“Sport has the wealth and influential power to change society. Politicians have to be more accountable and sports more responsible to ensure this power is maximised” former UK Sports Minister Richard Carbon explored Carbon during the first session.
A second panel addressed how grassroots sport can contribute to social change and development. Louise Englefield from Pride Sports, Luca Ugolotti from Rugby Colorno and Jack Reynold from Football Beyond Borders shared their experiences in running community programmes and how these have impacted the lives of their beneficiaries.
During the debate, speakers highlighted that expectations on what sport can achieve must be realistic and that other sectors and actors must also play a part.
The conference also included a presentation of the PsyTool e-learning platform, which has trained 200 ‘Agents of Change’ in seven countries; a discussion around the pilot projects implemented by Sevilla FC and Sporting Clube de Portugal; and, the creation of a virtual European network of ‘Agents of Change’, which will give continuity to the project.
PsyTool is an Erasmus Plus Sport project co-funded by the European Commission bringing together 13 partners from five countries.
Over the last two years, it helped raise awareness of a broad array of issues threatening grassroots sport and gave tools to those involved in sport to use sport psychology-based interventions to support individuals and better structure organisations.
Lisa Ek, football coach and Agent of Change, said: “Before I took the course I thought I was doing a pretty good job with my leadership for my teams but everything I did was just based on feeling, I did what I felt was the right way.
“Now, I know how to take on situations and I got the structure and the research to learn on when I'm in doubt. I'm truly super happy I got to do the course and I feel honoured to have become an Agent of Change.”
The conference concluded with a set of recommendations delivered by PsyTool project leader José Carlos Jaenes from Pablo de Olavide University to organisations involved in the administration and delivery of grassroots sport.
These included: to develop an appropriate and extensive Code of Ethics to inform their day to day activities; widely communicates the Code of Ethics with all its stakeholders and instructs and provides them with the tools to enforce it; create a task-force of Agents of Change which promote and monitor the application of good practices in their area of influence; actively collaborate with similar organisations at local, regional and national level to multiply the effect of their good practices.
The conference was hosted by PsyTool UK partners Fare network, the International Centre for Sport Security and the International Council for Coaching Excellence.
PsyTool is a co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission. It is led by Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain) and comprises of a consortium of 12 other organisations: Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain); University of Balearic Islands (Spain); University of León (Spain); Halmstad University (Sweden); La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy); International Council for Coaching Excellence (UK); University of Lisbon (Portugal); International Centre for Sport Security (ICCS INSIGHT (UK) / Save the Dream; Fare network (UK); Sevilla Football Club Foundation (Spain); Sporting Clube de Portugal (Portugal); Sport Foundation (Portugal); ; Spanish Federation of Sport Psychology (Spain; associated partner)
PsyTool has allowed a group of stakeholders from different sport backgrounds to collaborate in the establishment of a successful network to take full advantage from the implementation of Sport Psychology as a strategic tool to safeguard the integrity of grassroots sport, to promote positive and fair experiences for children and young people and to allow sport to contribute to the EU strategic objectives of solidarity and prosperity
For more details please visit www.psytoolsport.eu/the-project/ or follow us on twitter at @PsyTool
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