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03/06/2016
FIBA Family
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FIBA Players' Commission members enhance skills at IOC workshop

LAUSANNE - A quartet of representatives from the FIBA Players' Commission took part in an International Olympic Committee (IOC) workshop based around the IOC's Athlete Career Outreach Programme.

Elisabeth Egnell, Olumide Oyedeji, Jenni Screen and Tomas Van Den Spiegel were able to capitalise on the IOC expanding its initiative to key international federations, who all play a vital role in supporting athletes. This involves the use of a 'Train the Trainer' approach to qualifying participants so they can directly deliver the training to other athletes.

The IOC has created a great initiative and FIBA are already well aware of the importance of career protection, so I am intrigued to see where we can now take this in a global context. - Screen

Facilitated by members of the IOC Athletes' Commission and partners Adecco to ensure consistency and quality, the 'Train the Trainer' session took place at the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne on Tuesday-Wednesday 1-2 June and the feedback was terrific.

"It was good from a basketball point of view and especially as we also represented a number of different continents from a FIBA perspective," enthused Screen, an Australian Olympian. "Education is very important and we have to plant that seed in the mind of any young athlete that there is also life after basketball to consider.

"The IOC has created a great initiative and FIBA are already well aware of the importance of career protection, so I am intrigued to see where we can now take this in a global context. The participants at the workshop wanted to hang out with the basketball players as I think we all created a good vibe for the two days. It was also a privilege to sit in a room with the likes of two table-tennis players who had 13 Olympic appearances between them, which is phenomenal in itself.

"It ticked a lot of boxes and we were able to network and develop our personal growth because global sport needs this kind of connectivity amongst athletes. Now we have an added basis and premise for the next [FIBA Players' Commission] meeting and it's good that FIBA have so many platforms to help us all spread messages to the wider basketball community."

I really want to be able to positively impact on future players and deliver a positive impact on the image of basketball and how it supports its athletes. - Oyedeji

Oyedeji, who played at the Olympics for Nigeria, also praised the workshop, stating: "It was a great opportunity and we learned a lot to take into the FIBA Players' Commission. It was good to liaise with other international bodies to learn more about their perspectives on sport.

"It was a great feeling to train in public speaking and while I am a psychologist myself and for the last 17 years I have done similar things with my own foundation, this really gave me added value.

"It is a big task to protect the interest of athletes - not only during their career, but in ensuring they think about life after basketball before they get to that point. I really want to be able to positively impact on future players and deliver a positive impact on the image of basketball and how it supports its athletes."

I am currently working as a financial coach for athletes and so I am used to the issues and the questions from them when they are thinking about their second careers. - Van Den Spiegel

Belgian center Van Den Spiegel also reiterated that as well as learning, the FIBA representatives were also able to contribute themselves.

"It was very interesting with a lot of content across two very intense days and at the same time, it taught us a lot of things - even if we are already athletes in transition and have experience in  many of the topics," he explained.

"I am currently working as a financial coach for athletes and so I am used to the issues and the questions from them when they are thinking about their second careers. What we did with the IOC and through the co-operation of FIBA will really help us to reach out further to the athletes. I feel that one part is raising the awareness but we must also now focus on some concrete and practical solutions. 

"A career of 20 years is only for exceptional players and our target audience can be those around 30-years-old already thinking about transition from the game - but also those at the start of their careers."

Sweden's national team wing Egnell will be one of two players to take the lead on these issues at a players' clinic to be held as part of the FIBA U17 World Championships for Men and Women in Zaragoza, Spain from 22 June-3 July.

FIBA