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Leadership education for athletes at the centre of discussion during the PROLead Dissemination Conference

Dec 14, 2022 | Events, Projects

This morning, the Dissemination Conference of PROLead project has taken place online, gathering over 170 participants from player associations, sport organisations, dual career providers, universities and other organisations. The meeting was an opportunity to share the experiences and results of the project, good practices and discuss the topic of leadership education and player development.

PROLead is a collaborative partnership project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by European Elite Athletes Association (EU Athletes) with German Sport University Cologne and 8 player associations from different countries and sports (GPA, RPI, PPF, FNASS, UBE, TCA, AJFS, AJJV) as partners. Focusing on the topic of dual careers of athletes, the aim of the project was to enhance leadership skills of athletes, as well as volunteers and staff of player associations, by designing and implementing leadership courses at the European and national level.

The conference was kicked off by Tom Parsons, the CEO of Gaelic Players Association who shared his leadership journey in a keynote speech. Presentations of the PROLead project by Paulina Tomczyk, General Secretary of EU Athletes, and the project results: Desktop Research and Literature Review of Leadership Education for Athletes by Sebastian Uhrich from German Sport University Cologne and the European Leadership Course and Good Practice Guide by Eamonn Murphy from Gaelic Players Association followed.

The participants also had an opportunity to hear from two panels. First one, moderated by Karen Thorpe from Gaelic Players Association, focused on the experiences of player associations who designed and delivered National Leadership Courses for their players during the PROLead project. Alessandro Marzoli from Union des Basketteurs Europeens, Roose Hoogeboom from the Cyclists Alliance and Sergio Alonso from Asociacion de Jugadores de Futbol Sala shared insights into their work. In the second panel, two athletes (Lex Albrech and Robert Fultz) and two facilitators (Rossa O’Donnell and Francesca Di Sipio) engaged in a discussion about how to best teach and how to learn leadership, moderated by Pamela Gilpin from Rugby Players Ireland.

The Conference was concluded by Natalia Orive, the Vice President of EU Athletes, who emphasised the work that EU Athletes has been doing to strengthen the leadership within the player association movement, and the importance of helping athletes to realise their potential and strength as leaders.

Paulina Tomczyk, the Project Manager of PROLead, said ‘I am very proud of the work that the project team has completed over the last 3 years. We have managed to bring positive results for the athletes, partner organisations and other EU Athletes members. Today’s conference was also an opportunity to share and exchange with other player associations and various stakeholders, with an ultimate goal to best support athlete development and leadership education.’