SportWays and the European Hockey Federation have been partners for 25 years now. Time to share some success stories of European coaches who have been part of our camps. Did you already read the story of Josip and Panos? Time to have a chat with Monika from Lithuania.

“SportWays is by far the best option for both children and coaches to spend a summer. It’s all about new knowledge, high quality coaches and in general a great organisation.”

What is your name and what is your current involvement in hockey?
“My name is Monika Ivanauskaitė and I’m Chief Officer of Lithuanian Hockey Federation. I started my hockey career after I attended my first SportWays camp. At the moment, I’m coaching an U12 team.”

What SportWays camp did you attend and in what year?
“In 2017, I received an email from the European Hockey Federation about the opportunity to join a SportWays camp in Amsterdam. Our federation decided to be part of it and realised that this is great opportunity for children and coaches to develop their hockey. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t find any coaches who were able to attend, because of the English language barrier. So my National Federation and their Executive Committee decided to let me attend and make sure not to miss this great opportunity for hockey development in our country.”

How would you describe the development of hockey in your country?
“Hockey in Lithuania is not a popular sport. We have around 3000 players from 6 till 55 years old. Every year we are trying to expand hockey to a new city, that might be interest in hockey. This is our goal for every year and till now we achieved this! For children under 12 years old, we organise a special League, where they play indoor and outdoor hockey. This year, they have 4 indoor and 4 outdoor series in this League and one Olympic Day series, where we organise not just matches, but also the celebration of Olympic day.”

What is your overall opinion about your SportWays experience?
“My personal experience in the SportWays camp was awesome. I have a bachelor degree in physical education, but never worked as coach. So obviously, at first it was challenge for me to be part of this group of experienced coaches. But already after the first day, I came to the conclusion that this practice brought me a lot. I tried to listen and watch as much as I can. And it worked! I found new friends/coaches with whom I still are in contact and they share a lot of new information about hockey. After the camp, I decided that I needed to start talking to high level coaches from Europe. Talk about hockey together, learn from each other, organise seminars for Lithuanian coaches and share all  new information with them. I’m achieving both my personal goal by doing this as well as contributing to hockey development in Europe. This is the 3rd year already I’m organising these coach seminars: two times a year about technique, tactic and new skills. I love it!”

Why do you think the EHF’s ‘Supporting National Growth’ programme is so important?
“Smaller nations, like Lithuania, need support and coordination from the EHF in growing hockey. We still have a lot of countries in Europe where we don’t have hockey or it is very poor. So the EHF can help create opportunities and support with materials (sticks, balls, goalie equipment) and training. And if there will be organised a European Championship for U14 and U12 for example, we will definitely be first in line to participate in it!”

What would you say to someone who is considering joining a SportWays camp?
“What I can say… SportWays is by far the best option for both children and coaches to spend a summer. It’s all about new knowledge, high quality coaches and in general a great organisation. Lithuania will always be part of SportWays and motivate other countries to be part of it too!”

Want to be part of this year’s hockey overnight experience? Check it here!

Together we develop hockey
SportWays and The European Hockey Federation have a longstanding partnership for 25 years and promote hockey development in Europe. They do this by working together to create possibilities for ambitious coaches from all over Europe. This involves the Coaches 4 Europe seminars, allowing coaches to attend the SportWays LAB in Barcelona and inviting them to join the SportWays EHF Excellence Hockey Camp in Barcelona. This joint effort builds a concept where both parties support the education of young and talented coaches – a key component in the development of European hockey. The collaboration is part of the Supporting National Growth (SNG) initiative. Read more about the partnership here.