Player? Coach? Referee? For everyone on a handball court there are plenty of opportunities to improve skills through training, workshops and courses.
But what about those off the court?
As the sport continues to grow, the last few decades have placed heavy economic demands on handball organisations. However, managers of clubs, associations and leagues have had to do without specific education…
…until 2015. In that year, the EHF and the German Sport University, which together have been organising the club manager seminars on the fringes of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in the German city of Cologne, teamed up to provide a professional development course, meeting modern market needs.
Now in its third year, the ‘European Handball Manager certificate programme’ has become an invaluable asset to the sport’s professionalisation.
“When players or coaches turn into managers, they often lack the basics of accounting, licensing and sports law,” Dr. Stefan Walzel of the Institute of Sports Economy and Management at the Cologne university said at the inception of the programme.
“The EHF, together with Forum Club Handball, has seen the need to give the management side of things more attention. A club’s economic success is as important as the success on the court,” Walzel said.
Several big names in handball, including Champions League winners Holger Glandorf and Grit Jurack, world champion Henning Fritz, Spanish legend Iker Romero and former Danish international Lasse Boesen have already been among the participants.
“It is a mixture of people with different backgrounds,” says Beata Kozlowska from EHF’s Education & Development department.
Kozlowska completed the course in 2017, alongside managers from national federations, secretaries general, representatives from various leagues and club managers.
Kozlowska stresses that the programme is not just one-way education, but that all participants are encouraged to share experiences and best practice examples from their daily business.
“We just couldn’t stop discussing. Even during the coffee breaks and at dinner, everyone was talking about handball all the time,” Kozlowska says. “Organisers also invited past year’s graduates. The course participants have become part of a whole network.”
The number of participants is limited to 20, and despite high demand organisers are not considering changing that.
“The target groups are very different - former players, representatives from clubs, federations and competitions,” says Helmut Höritsch, head of the EHF’s education and development department. “More participants would make the discussions too difficult.”
What sets this programme apart from the broad variety of general management courses is its handball-specific, tailor-made content.