Take care of your coach (#TCYC) is a Small collaborative partnership formed for an Erasmus+ sport project for the years 2021-22. Our Small Partnership is aiming to encourage mental health for coaches and trainers working in non-profit sport organisations.

Our goals are oriented towards teaching coaches from four partner countries how to take care of their mental health, first by recognizing their mental wellbeing, second by researching and measuring burnout of coaches (professional, voluntary, part time coaches, students, interns, coaches working with different age groups and adult professional athletes). And third: to develop a toolkit with guidelines for coaches on how to take care of their mental health with the emphasis on educating athletes, parents and sport officials about the need of taking good care of the mental health of their coaches.

At the sporting fields we regularly see athletes, coaches and support staff suffering from poor mental health and in some cases, burnout. With the project we plan to start talking regularly about our coaches wellbeing and get feedback about their experiences with the subject. We will research the subject, search for the practical applications and provide good practice for all the EU countries.

The core of the project is a campaign to put the mental health of coaches across Europe on the agenda. We will be asking the sporting community to acknowledge one of the most important roles in sport and the wider community - the role of a coach. It is one of the hardest jobs, because coaches are often taken for granted and are usually the first to take the blame for a team's poor performance, regardless of whether they are paid or volunteers.

Project objectives

  • The first phase of the project will be a design and translation of a questionnaire which we will share to coches in each organisation. With their help we will reach out to their colleagues and friends who are also working as coaches. These questionnaires will help us to find out which stressors have the most influence on their mental health state and general well-being. We will measure their burnout level and initial mental health status with psychologically verified questionnaires. Also, we will gather information on their stress sources and their way of coping with them to find out if the techniques and methods they are using are successful enough.
  • The second phase will include development of the pilot program on how to take care for themselves better. It will include various activities, methods, and techniques for building the skills for a better mental health. Allso, the program will include actions required for raising awareness of athletes, parents and other sport stakeholders about the importance of mental health of their coaches. The programme will be designed as an education for coaches on how to take care of themselves, with a specific toolkit and practical guidelines about how to take care of their mental health and general well-being.
  • The third phase includes a practical application of the program - activities, workshops, lectures, and individual & group consultations with coaches. It will also include lectures and consultations with others in the coach's working environment - club members, athletes and their parents.
  • The fourth phase will include evaluation of the program and all the actions of sharing those findings to other coaches, sports associations, and sports organisations regionally. Also, it will include web publication of the Manual “Mental health guidelines for coaches” which will be available for coaches at all levels and across various sports.

Phases of the project

14.-17.2.2021 - Transnational project meeting 1 in Slovenia, Ljubljana - Kick off meeting; teambuilding, development of the project, basic guidelines.
We will start with the sports psychology experts who will teach the coaches about basic relaxation and mindfulness techniques and communication skills. We will keep them engaged for 4 weeks of personal practice. We will develop strategies for each partner sport organisation on the #TCYC movement (how can a coach be more observant, how can we teach athletes and parents to pay more attention to coaches mental health and their functioning).

May 2021 - online meeting for all partners
We will define the exact needs of our coaches (that we’ll receive in a form of the results from questionnaire analysis), further development of the #TCYC movement, writing down a detailed programme and its applications.

25.-28.9.2021 - Transnational project meeting 2 in Croatia, Umag
Evaluation of the programme and the results we have collected in the first nine months, plan on the further implementation of the #TCYC movement for local communities for each partner country. Developing the form of the lectures and workshops for each country. Discussion with the experts - suggestions on how to combine practical experiences and theoretical knowledge and new findings. Discussion about the promotion of the #TCYC.

15.1. - 15.2. 2022 - Program’s transitional reports - online meeting
We will evaluate the first phase of the program, collect the results, edit and post collected materials, suggestions and reflections of the coaches, club leaders, parents and athletes.

External evaluators will review the #TCYC movement programme and give feedback to experts, club leaders and project coordinators. We will try to implement their suggestions in practical activities and workshops.

13.-16.03. 2022 - Transnational project meeting 3 in Austria, Kirchdorf in Tirol
Writing and delegating chapters of the content of the Manual of mental health guidelines of coaches. Review of materials and literature. Discussing the dissemination strategies and how to promote the project internationally, organisation of panels in local communities. Gathering results and evaluations from coaches and athletes. Applying the questionnaires for the second time for evaluation.

27.11.-30.11.2022 - Transnational project meeting 4 in Slovenia, Ljubljana
Finalising the #TCYC movement implementation to a wider audience. Review of written and video materials, and evaluation of expert’s work. Discussion about the results of our #TCYC movement and its implementation. The dissemination strategies and how to promote the project internationally. Gathering results, suggestions and evaluations.