The day was opened by Hungarian coaching legend and three-time Olympic champion waterpolo coach Dénes Kemény who stressed the importance of having well trained and qualified coaches working with children and young people: “If we don’t get it right at the youth level, we have no chance of developing great athletes at the elite level. Coaches and their education are central to this”.
Next it was Kris Van der Haegen, Director of Coach Education for the Royal Belgian Football Association (an iCK partner) and Assistant Coach for the Senior Women’s National Team. Kris very eloquently told the story of how Belgian football has taken very important steps to build a football participation and competition system completely tailor-made for children at different stages of development going from 1v1 and 2v2 festivals for under 6 players to the full size 11v11 for senior players. Kris emphasised that “we have to see the world through the eyes of the children and create opportunities to enjoy sport for all of them, not just for the good ones or the ones who are extremely motivated”.