SPIRIT Project Team Meeting – physically distanced, not socially distanced

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

The second official gathering of all partners of the Erasmus+ Sport co-funded SPIRIT project was originally due to take place at ICSSPE’s home in Berlin. However, as with many other international initiatives nowadays, the SPIRIT Project Team Meeting went online. The consortium met on 26-27 October on ZOOM. Read below SPIRIT Project Manager, Rachel May's report on the event.

We had a packed agenda across the two days, day one focussed on current project activity, and on day two we had preparatory discussions on future project deliverables.

The team contextualised the role of the SPIRIT Project in a global mental health crisis, such as that currently emerging amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Partners shared how they have been responding to the crisis within their organisations or countries to best respond to the needs of their members, staff or communities. It was apparent that one of the primary challenges, and where the SPIRIT Project may be able to support by sign-posting organisations, is to maintain connections with participants and athletes, despite the fact they cannot meet to train. We may need to be physically distanced, but let us not be socially distanced.

With regards to the project’s primary outcomes; significant work has already been done on the ‘Research Review’ by the team at ICSSPE in Germany; as well as for the ‘Mapping of Good Practices by the team at MIELI in Finland. These two pieces of work will be the foundations for the project and some strong lessons and trends have already been identified that can inform the sport sector on how to better nurture the mental wellbeing of its participants. We look forward to sharing the final version of these documents by the spring.

On the other hand, we have already started thinking about how these findings will be further incorporated for the development of the remaining outputs of the project. In particular we discussed how we might need to re-think the format of national events which were going to help disseminate findings; as well as what we envision for the final online learning tool which should aim to empower coaches to best support their athletes holistically.

A key finding of the work so far is that it is not just the behaviour and skills of the coaches that need to be developed, but that their own mental wellbeing is vital and they must be allowed to work within a structure and environment that also empowers.

In trying to acknowledge the mental strain that comes with being sat watching yourself, and engaging online for hours on end – we interspersed the day with a couple of 5-minute wellbeing exercises, each hosted by a different member of the project team. We encourage you to do the same within your teams and virtual meetings.

Click here to find out more about the project and its objectives.