England Handball is set to recruit four new Handball Development Coaches to help more young people make the transition to competitive handball with clubs across the country.
Funding has been secured from the European Handball Federation (EHF) to create the new posts, with recruitment starting from this month.
The new coaches will take on responsibility for different geographic areas across the country, including the North West, Midlands and London.
Their focus will be on supporting the work that clubs already do in the community, but primarily to help Year 7 and Year 8-aged players (11-13) take the step up from playing at school to playing in club-based competitions with England Handball.
“We’re delighted to have received significant investment from the EHF to help grow the youth game in England through our network of clubs and schools,” said Mike Bain, CEO at England Handball.
“In line with our strategy, supporting clubs is high on our agenda and these four new coaches will be able to provide direct support on the ground to help clubs forge even stronger connections with young players in their communities.
“We know from speaking to clubs that this is exactly the kind of help they need to increase the pipeline and retention of local talent playing handball beyond school, and Year 7 and 8 is a crucial age where we think have the best opportunity to achieve that. This is about creating the next generation of handball players in England.”
In line with the new roles, England Handball will also be creating additional competitions and events for players at this age to ensure they can experience competitive handball.
Plans have been drawn up to ensure that at the start of 2024, development competitions are in place in local areas, so that young players who may not be quite ready for club-level handball can still experience competitive games.
Clubs with teams already in England Handball’s youth leagues will be supported to continue this and those clubs that have yet to enter these leagues will also be offered additional help.
Vicki Putson, Head of Operations at England Handball, added: “We know that people in our clubs have to wear many hats, and the reality is that most do not have the infrastructure or the workforce numbers to be able to focus on this as much as they would like.
“These new coaches will take the pressure off them and be that all-important stepping stone that young players really need to carry on their handball journey.”
The four new coaches will also have a direct link into England Handball’s Talent Pathway team, which is headed up by Ricardo Vasconcelos as Head of Performance. This will ensure young players with plenty of potential can have access to the range of development programmes on offer.
Martin Hausleitner – EHF Secretary General, had this to say about the new funding: “We are delighted to support England Handball with this project. Our masterplan programmes vary from federation to federation, but all support the continued growth of our wonderful sport. The appointment of four regionalised coaches is a significant development for the future of handball in England and we wish them every success.”
For more information about the roles or to apply, click here.