CoachEd6 is the first higher qualification in sport coaching that has been offered by a local higher education institution. The Erasmus+ opportunity provided me with being an international student and a work-based learner, starting this course with MCAST and finishing it at Southern University of Denmark, Odense, together with my colleague and friend Brenda Muscat.
The Danish people were of great help and very welcoming during our experience. I had the opportunity to follow the whole weekend school at SDU sports facilities with the presence of lecturers and guest speakers. I planned and was assisted with job shadowing at the athletics club in Odense, OGF, and the athletics club in Copenhagen, KIF, whereby I observed and took part in their summer camps with children. I interviewed coaches, talked with senior athletes in sprints and middle-long distance running, and observed the sessions.
Athletics in Denmark is not the most popular sport, given their stronghold in football, handball, badminton and ice hockey. The athletics population is around eight thousand athletes, including youths, and the main reflection from everyone in different cities is that the other Scandinavian countries are at a higher standard of athletics, primarily due the possibility of proper indoor training facilities and the popularity of athletics. At first glance, I believe that Denmark can be a major country for Malta to look up to, given its population in athletics and small-scale track and field performance.
During my stay in Denmark, I have observed a culture of comfortable conviviality that reflects in their way of welcoming people, structuring summer camp sessions and training at senior level. Session for children were not structured to the dot as they are allowed to experiment and have free play during this summer school week, having ample space in an empty track during morning hours, in a less-hot Danish summer. All leaders are active athletes in the club, giving their time and advice to the little ones. Senior teams have their triumphs and struggles just like any other country. Coaches based at the track have a high coaching and science education with KIF middle-distance team following proper planning, traveling to other cities for competition and organizing training camps in Kenya, thanks to their partnership with former KIF and world leading athlete, Wilson Kipketer.
Undoubtedly, being an athlete in Denmark is a plus due to their wellbeing and physically active lifestyle which is reinforced by great infrastructure (indoor gyms, bicycle lanes and walking paths everywhere, educational sports facilities open for the public and accessible indoor swimming pools), flat land and great family-friendly measures.