Professional Coaches of Finland

Coach column: Walking the Board

19.09.2023 | SAVALnews


Coaching expertise, insights, events and support for coaches – What has been and is going on in Finland this year.

Legal support

Clubs find themselves in a better financial situation than a year ago, which is directly impacting the employment level of coaches. SAVAL is continuously monitoring the employment situation for coaches and is supporting coaches on a daily basis in case of work-related issues with the help of our lawyers who are specialized in labour legislation. So, before signing the contract for the upcoming season, have our, which are in reality, your lawyers check that contract to make sure that it protects your best interests.

Collective bargaining

Spring saw a new round of collective bargaining negotiations for sports organizations and a common salary settlement was agreed upon which covers 2023 and 2024. SAVALs own collective bargaining negotiations with Palta (service sector in Finland) were successful and the collective bargaining agreement for sports organizations is taking affect including SAVALs own previously negotiated amendments. The biggest change in the collective bargaining was the addition of the family leave reform, which now guarantees that employees who are not or who have not given birth will be paid salary for the first 32 working days of their parental leave. This is a significant step forward in equality status for both parents or care-givers when deciding to take parental leave.

Work well-being

As already reported earlier, SAVAL is supporting the well-being of coaches (valmentajakoulutukset) through several measures this year. These measures are work supervision, work well-being support and small group mentoring process. SAVAL members have the opportunity on a continuous base to apply for the well-being support. More information on the SAVAL homepage.

Our Finnish Sport Project

Maybe you have come across the Meidän Urheilu (Our Finnish Sport) project already in social media, at coach education events or someone has told you about it. The Our Finnish Sport project aims at speeding up the change in Finnish coaching culture towards a more person-centred coaching. This is achieved through bringing different players in the sport environment together to develop Finnish coaching expertise. Quality coaching directly affects athlete development and increases motivation of sports participants to stay active. Henna Tanhuanpää is the project manager of the Our Finnish Sport project which is currently in its second year of implementation.

This development process is shifting the focus of coaching on the human being in the centre of the action. The human being is seen as the active operator with individual needs, resources, goals, motivation, values and thought processes. In the future Finnish sport will be attractive, safe, successful and respected in society, this will be achieved through the Our Finnish Sport project. Sport can be the ideal learning environment for everyone involved, if we make it so. The project is running a podcast called: Pelin Henki (Spirit of the game), which addresses current themes and topics in coaching, coach development, person-centred coaching and coaching competences. Check out the Meidän Urheilu homepage through the Finnish Coaches Associations homepage.


Coach like a Women

The Coach like a Women project is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The project coordinator for the duration of the entire project process has been Sanna Erdoğa. It started in 2013 with the aim of increasing the number of women coaches in ball sports. Key outcomes of the Coach like a Women in ball sports were an increase of female coaches on the league level as well as in National team staff.

In 2020 and 2021 the Coach like a Women project focused on combat sports, with the goal to increase the number of female coaches in combat sports in general and specifically in the elite level. A second goal was to establish a network for women coaches on combat sports where they can seek for support and guidance. In 2022 and 2023 the Coach like a Women project shifted its focus towards racket sports, where the emphasize is on promoting equality work, supporting coach education initiatives and developing networks for female coaches. The biggest outcome of the Coach like a Women project is the equality tool which is now available on the Finnish Coaches Association’s Coach like a Women subpage.

A webinar from May 2023 in English is available in the member room of the Finish Coaches Association covering both topics: XI: Coach Webinar – Athlete-centred coaching and diversity with Henna Tanhuanpää and Sanna Erdoğan. Introducing the Coach like a Women sport project and equality work in coaching, and the Our Finnish Sport project. Comments by Suheil Lizana, Tennis and Padel, and Maurizio Margaglio, ice dancing.

The IIHF Coaching Symposium 2023 in Tampere

This year’s IIHF Coaching Symposium in Tampere saw a diverse range of experts sharing and discussing their knowledge on person-centred coaching, transformational coaching, talent development, usage of pre-scouts, integrity, team preparation and intentional coaching and many more topics. A highlight was the panel discussion on quality coaching in the future on the first day of the symposium. The IIHF Coaching Symposium is organized in conjunction with the IIHF ice hockey world championship but for those now thinking that all the speakers would only be concerned about ice hockey and that this would be the only topic of the symposium, they could not be more wrong.

Yes, maybe ice hockey is used as an example but most of the principles and ideas shared are applicable for any team and even individual sport; be it by using pre-scouting to creating a game plan, or providing feedback and support to fourth line players to help them with reaching their potential, building deep and lasting connections and relationships with players, to using heart rate data to plan practices, making sports affordable, accessible, local and inspiring, making better people through the application of the C’s system in coaching (these are competence, confidence, connection, character and creativity), interpersonal and intrapersonal development, creating a growth environment and an environment where learning happens. One point that almost every speaker emphasized in their presentations was the importance they place on creating connections with each single person they are working with, be it an athlete, player, sport participant or a member of staff. Through direct communication and rapport building a personal connection is developed which is key in person-centred coaching in a holistic development environment where the bio-psycho-social and cognitive dimensions of a person are considered.

The presentations and the list of speakers can be accessed on the website:

Author: Frauke Kubischta, a coach developer, educator and a member of the SAVAL board

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