The inaugural meeting for the FEMCoach project took place on February 1st and 2nd, 2023, at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD in Vila Real, Portugal.

The objective of this Erasmus+ Sport program-funded international endeavor is to advocate for the advancement of women’s sports in a holistic manner, with a particular emphasis on bolstering the competencies and proficiencies of coaches tailored to their unique requirements and growth trajectories.

The kick-off meeting gathered representatives from partner institutions, including the Institute for Sport Governance (Poland), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Association Sport for All Serbia (Serbia), Association for Development of Youth Sports (Portugal), University of Girona (Spain), University of the Basque Country and the Cape Verde Olympic Committee.

The agenda comprised an overview of the project’s work packages and a roundtable dialogue centered on “Challenges and opportunities in career advancement: perspectives from coaches, athletes, and political decision-makers.” Panelists for this session included Susana Feitor, President of the Sports Foundation; Ana Filipa da Silva Martins, Olympic artistic gymnast; and José Ferreirinha, UTAD faculty member and Artistic Gymnastics coach, also a member of the national technical team.

Following the initial meeting, Anne Spangemacher, the representative of the European Commission for the FEMCoach project, joined online. Anne outlined the partnership’s objectives, including the exchange and development of new practices, capacity building of organizations, and expanding the network of partners. She emphasized the innovative nature of the FEMCoach project, highlighting its practical and complementary approach.

In its initial stage, the project will undertake a systematic analysis of current coaching education curricula and manuals, with a specific focus on women’s coaching. Concurrently, efforts will be directed towards crafting course content and enhancing the teaching and learning methodologies. Transitioning to the subsequent phase, the project will proceed to develop online courses and manuals and commence their practical implementation among a designated cohort of participants. Lastly, the third phase will involve the organization of national workshops aimed at highlighting the accomplishments of the project.

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