9th and 10th of July 2022, a weekend to remember, which marks the first step of an Erasmus project that will last three years, Love is All.

More than a project, it is a dream with a great shared goal: to develop and promote hockey for people with intellectual disabilities in order to improve their social inclusion.

A project born from the love and enthusiasm of coaches and staff, and aimed at increasing self-esteem in players with intellectual disabilities and creating a safe and welcoming environment for them in order to create the optimal conditions for the inclusion of the ID hockey in the activities of the various clubs.

On those two days , the project team, staff and experts met at Amsterdam, home to the World Hockey Championships and the Euro Hockey ID championship,met to discuss the programme  thoroughly. The start of the meeting took place on Saturday the 9th of July and was led by Gino Schilders, President of the Czech Hockey Federation, who presented the key points of Project Management, called Workpackage #1. We aligned on the objectives, toolkit outputs and action plan. This project will contribute to ensuring equal participation by promoting socialization and involving more and more families, institutions; promoting education in sport and through sports, increasing life skills, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence. The action plan was at the center of the discussion during the morning, in which each partner was involved. We have clearly defined tasks, methodology, responsibilities, deadlines, progress monitoring, risk management for the entire duration of the project.

In particular, we focused on specific objectives:

  1. Cultivate Basic Hockey ID: Provide the main foundations for starting and growing Hockey ID in a country which serves to inspire all 42 european hockey nations to get involved
  2. Strengthen coaches and ID players through training programs, educational materials, involving families who play a key role in the process
  3. Establish a sustainable solution applicable to all  sports

Regarding the budget, the funding rules of collaborative partnerships were presented and thoroughly analyzed. Above all, it was clarified how the budget was allocated.

The state-of-the-art analysis part was presented by Adam Evans, associate professor of sport development, chief editor of the European sports and society magazine. We do not want to invent the wheel but build on existing know-how.

Before talking about the development of the toolkit, we had the opportunity to watch a match: Belgium VS Holland, which was won by the latter. The fans, as well as the players, were on fire: once again Love, Passion, Enthusiasm in the eyes of the players as well as in the fans.

The afternoon was dedicated to a general discussion about the coaching program,  event manual, definition of roles and tasks.

We had a nice dinner together, ready and excited for the next day, entirely dedicated to team building and the toolkit framework.

In the morning we got on the pitch where Norman Hughes, Project Hockey ID Lead by the FIH (International Hockey Federation), ID Hockey ambassador, taught us the basics of a good practice for every hockey coach: communication rules as well as empathy and respect, interesting ideas to apply on the field with a stick in your hands.

In the afternoon we met Linda van Vermeiren Sandkaulen, ID coach, who shared her practical experience with ID teams, showing us that not only ID Hockey is a joyful sport for players, but also develops, step by step, autonomy, self-esteem, confidence, in short, life skills, in people with intellectual disabilities.

The last part of the day was dedicated to the in-depth definition of the toolkits, gathering ideas from all participants of the key content of the different parts of the toolkit.

The purpose will be to create a starting point for making coaches equipped to best support ID players; promote ID hockey events that will be professionally run; involve institutions, families, institutional bodies capable of increasing the participation of an ever greater number of players in the sporting environment, enhancing diversity and achieving the best conditions for the growth of an ID hockey team.

Thank you Amsterdam for having us and looking forward to work on the steps agreed and meet up in Rome next year to discuss progress and work on the deliverables.

Love is All!

Federica Gerosa, Elisa Canevese

Presentation download link