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General information about the pilot programme:

For who is this program designed?

All the information and workshops on this page are designed for three target groups; athletes, coaches and parents. The Powerpoint presentations will give you a complete overview of suggestions on how you can introduce the various themes. If you like, additional information can be given, and each club is free to tailor the information to his own situation regarding age, level and phases of the players they are hosting the workshops for. The relevant results of the research done by the University of Ljubljana are incorporated in the workshops. Important note: DONA is aimed at the development of dual career opportunities of young female volleyball players.

Note: A few conclusions of the research explain the need for additional focus points, more than just the focus on dual career. We have added some suggestions to our information, as some of the focus point the research talks about could be an influence on the actual dropout rate of the players. For more detailed information and additional research on these themes, we advise to talk this over with an expert in the field.


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Findings from the needs assessment (university of Ljubljana):

Challenges younger volleyball players (14 – 16 y)

·       Combining volleyball and school

·       Psychological difficulties (FRA, MA - low self-confidence, difficulties overcoming failures)

·       Difficulties with the coach (SP)

·       Tiredness, sleepiness, lack of energy (ITA, SP - late night trainings)

·       Making sacrifices in social life because of dual career obligations

Young athletes need to improve

·       Time management

·       Concentration, focus

·       Self-esteem

·       Control over emotions: anger, sadness, frustration

·       Mental toughness

·       Communication skills

Challenges older volleyball players (16 – 18 y)

·       Combine volleyball, school, studies (time and energy)

·       Motivation difficulties

·       Social difficulties

·       Physical problems

·       Volleyball career (MA - low competition and opportunities for development)

·       Problems with the coach

Older athletes need to improve

·       Self-confidence

·       Time management

·       Planning, organisation of activities

·       Concentration

·       Stress management

·       Perseverance

general information About the workshops


To present the most up to date and relevant information to the participating clubs in the DONA project, we took into consideration and evaluated the needs assessment, research of the University of Ljubljana, and previous related Erasmus+ project (such as ICDC, GEES).

From this evaluation the following themes have been proven to be most important to the target group: 1) Goal setting, 2) Time and energy management and 3) Mental toughness.

With the increasing pressure on educational performance and social life of the young women in this project, the calendar is filling up quickly and the need for planning and dividing of energy becomes more urgent (time management). To use the limited time effectively, focus and concentration are crucial (goal setting). Additionally, a lot of young players will need to work on their mental strength and toughness, with specific attention for the development of self-confidence, stress management and discipline. Last important theme is communication and the importance for the young players to be able to express their needs, challenges and questions with the stakeholders around them. All these themes will be explained during the workshops.

Note: With the knowledge on the above-mentioned themes we created three templates for three different workshops for the athletes. On this page all practical details on the workshops in general will be explained, followed with specific information on the content and structure of the workshops.   


Skills used for dual career:

  • Time management

  • Planning, organisation of activities

  • Sacrificing other things in life

  • Concentration and focus

  • Communication skills

Target audience

The three different workshops are suitable for all athletes. Of course, taking into account the tone and voice of the phase and age of the group. The presentations are, as far as possible, complete with regard to the information about the themes in question. A large part of the success of the outcome of these workshops depends on two important factors, namely:

1. The person who will conduct give the workshop with his or her background, knowledge and experience.

2. The flexibility to adapt the slides offered to the target group (age, level, size of the group, how well they know each other, etc.). For that reason, we advise you to adjust the material offered as much as possible to the situation and the possibilities that are available.


We recommend actively involving the players in the workshops. To get as much out of a workshop as possible, it helps if they start thinking in advance about their situation and challenges on a certain theme. We therefore advise you to send the attached assignment(s) to the players one week prior to the scheduled workshop. for the players.


Depending on the number of participants in the workshops (we recommend making the sessions compulsory for all players), you can estimate which location is most suitable within the club. It is important that you have access to a screen / projector and possibly sound. It is advisable to ask the participants to take notes, and therefore to bring notebooks or a laptop.

Who conducts the workshops?

It is up to each club to consciously determine who conducts the workshop. The elaborated themes offer a guide to get started and can in principle be used with the manual for anyone who has an affinity with the theme.


Because every club can decide individually who is the most suitable person for implementing the DONA project, it is difficult to make a statement about the finances. We prefer to use people who are already working for the club, or perhaps as a volunteer, because they have an affinity with the theme. This makes the DONA project sustainable, also towards the future. If that is not possible, we suggest that an expert (psychologist, pedagogue, lifestyle coach, tutor) can be hired for a part of the day per workshop.

Icons used in the workshops

On the slides in each workshop, icons indicate which slide it is:

  • Ambassador

  • Knowledge

  • Get to work

  • Discussion


The workshops are designed in English but are offered in open files so that every club can do the translation in its own task, where necessary. However, the evaluation of the project will be delivered in each countries’ native language.

Workshops for athletes


Workshop 1: Goal setting

Semester 1

First of all

  • Lots of interaction.

  • Duration: 2,5 uur (including a short break).

  • Necessities: beamer, screen, laptop, paper & pens and the printed exercises.

Why goal setting?

  • Motivation and goal setting are essential keys for success in a career of an athlete.

  • Without defining goals achieving success is difficult. It is important to write them down and make them clear.

  • Setting goals to achieve something that belongs to your heart gets you motivated.

  • If you like what you are doing, you don’t need additional motivation.

Structure workshop

  • Introduction; why this workshop?

  • Inspiration from an ambassador: interview / presentation or pre-recorded content.

  • Exercise: create your personal masterplan.

  • Explanation: how does it work with goals?

  • Interaction: make your own personal masterplan

  • Note: “Everything that’s going to be discussed, stays in this room”

Pay attention: this is a very interactive workshop, in which the athletes mainly go to work themselves to get their goals and action points clear. Guide them in this process and provide theory and background information where necessary. Offer them the option (if necessary or desired) to discuss individually at a suitable time after the workshop.

Our advice: Send parents afterwards a brief summary of the most important points from the workshop. So that they can discuss this at home.


Workshop 2: Time and energy management

Semester 2 

First of all

  • Lots of interaction.

  • Duration: 2,5 uur (including a short break).

  • Necessities: beamer, screen, laptop, paper & pens and the printed exercises.

Why this theme?

  • Time management is a crucial skill for young athletes in striving a successful dual career.

  • Planning is not only about time management; it is also about energy and a good balance between both. Knowing what gives energy and what costs energy is important. Even so how can you take that into account when making a planning.

  • Some tips and tricks on how to prioritise is another step towards creating a successful structure.

  • It is easier to tackle time clashes in an earlier stage than waiting until the very last moment and skip a practice.

Structure workshop

  • Introduction; why this workshop?

  • Inspiration from an ambassador: interview / presentation or pre-recorded content

  • Exercise: The energy level at the moment and their planning

  • Explanation: Time and energy management

  • Interaction: discussing everyone’s challenges for the upcoming week/month/year

  • Note: “Everything that’s going to be discussed, stays in this room”

Pay attention: you can ask the athletes prior to the workshop to make the two attached schedules in advance, but it is also possible to complete after the workshop. It is a good starting point to also start a conversation 1-1 when problems are identified that have to do with time management, planning, stress, poor communication around school and sports activities

Our advice: Send parents afterwards a brief summary of the most important points from the workshop. So that they can discuss this at home.


Workshop 3: Mental resilience

Semester 3

First of all

  • Lots of interaction.

  • Duration: 2,5 uur (including a short break).

  • Necessities: beamer, screen, laptop, paper & pens and the printed exercises.

Why this theme?

  • Belief in one-self, difficulties in overcoming failures, concentrating and perseverance, aiming high and trying to be perfect. Challenges that young athletes face.

  • How to focus and what to do to get focused again when distracted?

  • How to belief in your own capabilities?

  • What can you learn from setbacks and how to deal with them?

  • Every obstacle you face will be easier when discovering how the art of coaching yourself can help in overcoming them.

Structure workshop

  • Introduction; why this workshop?

  • Inspiration from an ambassador: interview / presentation or pre-recorded content

  • Explanation: focus, self-confidence, perfectionism

  • Exercise: if-then statements, an inventory of qualities and some areas for improvement

  • Interaction: when desirable

  • Note: “Everything that’s going to be discussed, stays in this room”

Pay attention: to prepare the athletes you could share (parts) of the list with them to enable them to think over their own challenges. This workshop consists of basis and general information, but depending on the age of the athletes, specific subjects that seem to be more relevant for the club or the athletes, can be added to the workshop to get the best results.

Our advice: Send parents afterwards a brief summary of the most important points from the workshop. So that they can discuss this at home.

Coaches & parents/(caregivers)

Findings from the needs assessment (university of Ljubljana):

Challenge coaches

  • Low self-efficacy of the players

  • Lack of motivation and willpower (FR)

  • Technical and tactical problems (FR)

  • Lack of discipline (difficulties with following the rules) (FR)

  • Parental expectations and pressures: “my child is exceptional“ (IT)

  • Mobile phones, too much time spent on social media (IT)

  • Low belief that a successful dual career is possible (MA)


Coaches need

  • Relationship player - teacher - coach – parent

  • Knowledge about female athletes and their development

  • Ways to address tensions within the females' team

  • A course for athletes to teach them time management: practical implementation

  • Dealing with stress, self-esteem, time management & planning of athletes

  • Working with parents and dealing with parental pressures

Challenge parents/caregivers

  • Late trainings: girls finish too late & non-optimal facilities

  • The coach should be a better supporter of the girls’ dual career

  • Losing time in daily schedule: a lot of time between school and volleyball, in which their daughter cannot do anything

  • Perfectionism: high goals in sport and studies

  • The importance of social life will increase

  • Deciding about future studies, more difficulties in combining both careers


Parents need

  • Education for coaches: how to work with teenagers (SP)

  • Better communication between the coach (club) and the parents (SP)

  • Preparing the girls' for transitions (SP)

  • Locating some of the activities into the school so that the girls would not need to drive (FR)

  • Mental coach

  • Examples about successful players

Information and tools

Performing at a higher level in sports can lead to stressful situations. For young athletes, parents and coaches, it is good be aware of these circumstances. Performance pressure, dealing with disappointments, setbacks, loss, getting the best out of yourself and your players. Some of the elements that you have to face as a coach. We help you to reflect on what you do and can do along the side of the volleyball court. What effect does your behavior have on a player and what aspects can you possibly do differently or more conveniently? How can you make coaching for yourself and for players even more fun, effective and positive? 

From the knowledge and inspiration that we offer, not everything will be new to you. However, thinking about it and sharing experiences will help increase the pleasure in coaching and you will eventually be more successful in inspiring them to stay active in sports. Therefore it is important and useful to have the right knowledge about the development of young athletes, especially girls at the age of 14-20 (on which DONA focusses). We provide an overview of the different phases of a girls’ transitions in life, from a holistic perspective. Also we provide tools and suggestions for coaches which they can use to (better) understand and guide their players. 


  • The information from the Transition thermometer can be used to inform parents and coaches at the beginning of the season to make them more aware about the transition of the young girls. It gives a better understanding of the challenges they are and will be facing from a holistic perspective. You can use this in an (informal) meeting or workshop with coaches and/or parents. We think it’s the best option to hire a psychologist for this topic.

  • The Knowledge and inspiration for coaches can be used for example in a session especially for coaches. You can select and share the elements that are most important for your club/players.

Pay attention: DONA initially focuses on creating the right opportunities and circumstances to help young athletes combine their sport and studies. So that they get more out of themselves in both areas. For this reason this online platform offers the right tools to guide them in this. The needs assessment (UL) shows that there are more challenges with this target group that deserve proper attention. For that reason we provide broader knowledge and inspiration for parents and coaches to deal with this in a conscious way. It depends on the situation, the target group and the challenges whether and how you will use this knowledge. In any case, we want to offer you a good basis to get started.

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