On April 21, the gymnasium of Limbaži Secondary School had an exciting atmosphere. Here, basketball players aged 10-11 proved their athletic ability by participating in basketball relays organized by coaches Kristaps Zaļupe and Jānis Skuja within the framework of the Erasmus + program project “Restart Sport Engine in EU”.
Before the start of the activities, K.Zaļupe gave the young contestants both special project T- shirts and bracelets. This encouraged and strengthened the boys' determination to start as well as possible. And then the coaches' whistles sounded and the relay could begin. Drifting between cones, accuracy in free throws, shouts of joy for every ball thrown into the basket, team spirit and coach's encouragement proved that the young basketball players devote 100% to their sport and strong motivation is the merit of coaches.
The Restart Sport Engine project aims to improve people's skills in the five project countries - Latvia, Romania, France, Spain and Greece - through various sports activities, to improve the skills of coaches, sports teachers and sports volunteers to use innovative sports tool, and to resume sports movement in Europe after the Covid19 pandemic. These relays met the goals set in the project and proved that young athletes are more than ready to play sports again with great dedication and determination, while coaches - to motivate, encourage and find ways to put young athletes' excitement and abilities to the right level developing a strong, motivated and knowledgeable young generation.
In the end, all the participants were satisfied with the great sports matches they had played. The taste of sporty victories was made even sweeter by the prepared snacks.
From April 20 to 23, part of the Latvian team of the project “Training To Win” - leader Sandija Zaļupe and BMX coach of Valmiera Sports School Olafs Lakučs - will go to the Spanish city of Zaragoza to meet with project partners and continue work on the development of the BMX trainer training program. This time, the coach of Smiltene Children and Youth Sports School Renārs Auga will not join the team, but his contribution to the development of the training program is invaluable.
It should be reminded that the Latvian side is working on such topics as “BMX season planning”, “BMX competitions”, “Improving the start technique”, as well as creating a section on training methodology. The training program is planned as an open education resource, so it is available to all those involved in this sport in Latvia and throughout Europe. It will be a guide for coaches, especially those who want to move from rider status to coach and have a wealth of practical experience, but need to supplement and strengthen the theoretical knowledge base in this sport.
The training course will include several sections, namely, the theory of general competencies in sports, specific content specifically required for BMX sports, and practice in which theoretical knowledge can be applied in practical training.
The Board of Directors of Latvian Sports Education Institutions LSIIDP together with 5 other European organizations related to the field of sports and, in particular, cycling, participates in the BMX project “Training to Win” of the Erasmus + program. Currently, the project is working intensively to develop a training course for BMX trainers, which will be an open educational resource, so it is available to all those interested in this sport in Latvia and throughout Europe. The training program will serve as a guide for coaches, especially those who want to move from the status of a driver to a coach and have a wealth of practical experience, but need to supplement and strengthen the theoretical knowledge base in this sport.
The training course will include several sections. The topics of the first section will be devoted to theoretical general competencies in sport, including psychology, pedagogical methods, etc. The second part will include specific content required for BMX sports on physical condition, sports rules, techniques, tactics, psychological aspects. The third section will be devoted to practice, in which all the acquired theoretical knowledge can be applied in practical training.
“BMX traditions are strongly rooted in Latvia. We have great riders who have achieved great achievements on a European and global scale, a motivated new generation, knowledgeable, enthusiastic coaches, as well as responsible race organizers and judges. We are strong and competitive in this sport, so we can share our knowledge and skills by creating a training program for coaches all over Europe, ”says Sandija Zaļupe, LSIIDP project manager.
Professionals in the field of BMX, including the coach of Valmiera Sports School, BMX Club “Tālava” and Valmiera High Class Athlete Training Center (AKSSC) Olafs Lakučs, driver and at the same time coach of Smiltene Children and Youth Sports School Renārs Auga. He is also an ambassador for the project, who, with his experience, growth and achievements, is able to set an example for young riders that getting an education is important alongside a sports career. Athlete's video card
So far, the project has undergone extensive preparations for the development of a training course. A study has been conducted on a European scale, including in Latvia, by interviewing BMX coaches, athletes, organizers of sports competitions in order to find out their needs, wishes, attitudes, opinions and proposals for a successful, effective training process. Last autumn, immediately after the BMX European Cup, athletes of various ages, including elite riders, from Latvia, Spain, Portugal and Slovakia met in the Portuguese city of Anadia to perform a physical test or a so-called "Battery Test" series. The testing was organized by the project's main partner CLUB BMX School Zaragoza, Spain, as well as the project participants, the Portuguese Cycling Federation Federação Portuguesa de Ciclismo and St. George's University Universidad San Jorge. The obtained results are summarized, analyzed, translated into all languages of the project countries and serve as a basis for the development of the training course.
The aim of the project is to promote education in sport, with a special focus on the development of skills needed in BMX sport and the training of coaches to improve the safety of sporting careers and young athletes. Project partners - International Centre for the Promotion of Education and Development CEIPES, Malta Street Sports Association MSSA, Slovak Cycing Federation Slovensky Zvaz Cyklistiky are also actively participating in the project side by side.
BMX “Training to Win” project is co-financed by the European Union.
Information about the project in Latvian can be found on the LSIIDP website here
On Wednesday, April 13, the trainers' working group of the project "Training to Win" implemented by LSIIDP will meet online to discuss the development of the training program for BMX trainers. During the meeting, the Latvian side will be represented by Renārs Auga, the coach of the Children and Youth Sports School of Smiltene, and Olafs Lakučs, the coach of the Valmiera Sports School, as well as Sandija Zaļupe, the project coordinator. Our trainers develop such training course topics as “BMX competition” and “BMX season planning”, while S.Zaļupe creates a section on training methodology.
It has already been reported that the training program will serve as a guide for coaches, especially those who want to move from rider status to a coach and have a wealth of practical driving experience, but need to supplement and strengthen their theoretical knowledge base in this sport. The aim of the project is to promote education in sport, with a special focus on the development of skills needed in BMX sport and the training of coaches to improve the safety of sporting careers and young athletes.
The trainers team was followed by youth athletes who took over the relay stick on March 27, on their way to Targu Jiu, Romania, to meet other youth athletes from Romania, France and Greece. This is the second mobility under the Erasmus+ Sports "Restart Sport Engine in EU" project. This mobility also was presented by athletes from several cities - Bauska, Talsi and Limbaži - Līga Irmane, Ilona Kupčiuna, Velibor Marinkovic, Inga Zaļupe and Dāvis Strazds. Although the athletes, just as the trainers, reached the finish line at four in the morning, this did not prevent them from successfully starting activities with Romanian, French and Greek youth athletes. One of the most interesting activities was a presentation of each country's sports through tools such as song, folklore, theater, which was drawn by a captain of each country's team. Latvians drew a folklore and, thanks to our folklore hero Sprīdītis (Tom Thumb), presented Latvian sports at a high level. What did Sprīdītis do? Sprīdītis walked the world in a search of happiness in the right sport - the basketball game available at home was too long and the field too big, BMX - legs too weak, rowing - hands. And so Sprīdītis walked all over the Fatherland in a search of the sport of happiness, but found it nowhere, because each sport had some minus. However, when Sprīdītis returned home, he learned that 3x3 basketball was included in the Olympic Games program. He decided that it was the right one - the field was smaller and the playing time was shorter. And Sprīdītis began training hard and won the ticket to Tokyo, where he became the Olympic champion! In addition to theoretical training and sports activities, athletes learned to dance Zumba, played bowling and learned martial arts.
But what do the athletes themselves say? Read it here!
Inga Zaļupe, Limbaži: "The biggest benefit is friendship. It's something universal in the nature of people all over the world, regardless of language, religion or ethnic origin. It's a wonderful thing to realize that you have friends outside your country with whom you will have many thoughts and things to share, even if you don't meet each other every day. The project allowed to take a break and get away from the usual daily routine. These days were a huge source of inspiration for future plans and perhaps even a real turning point for the future career. New experience, new knowledge, new people and contacts, wider vision and understanding. THANK YOU!"
Līga Irmane, Bauska Regional Children and Youth Sports School: "The biggest benefit of the mobility is the human person. New contacts, exchange of experiences both among ourselves and participants from Romania, France and Greece. No matter where you are from - sport unites and increases positive emotions. This was especially noticeable in this mobility. Thanks for these impressions!"
Ilona Kupčiuna, Bauska Regional Children and Youth Sports School: "Erasmus + was definitely something new in my experience. The common goal in sport, sharing of experiences among representatives of four countries (Latvia 🇱🇻, Romania 🇹🇩, France 🇫🇷 and Greece 🇬🇷) and to meet new people. The project leaders had thought of the content of all three days thouroughly, during which we got to know each other, shared the sports life of our countries, and actively moved. The project has definitely brought positive emotions and good memories."
Dāvis Strazds, Limbaži Regional Sports School: "In this kind of a project, I participated for the first time and enjoyed everything it gave to me - the opportunity to meet new people, travel and share experiences in the field of sports. Mobility was thought through of both: the practical and the diversity of the program. Thanks to the project manager for the opportunity."
Velibor Marinkovic, Talsu novada Sporta skola: "The Erasmus+ project was cool and interesting. I am always happy to meet new people from other countries. I have learned a lot from this project. Thanks for everything!"