Ambassadors are persons who are, or have been, active within the club and have experience with a dual career or with facing difficult transitions. This could for example be a player of the first team. Who has an interest in helping younger players or giving advice. They are good with younger athletes and like to help them with possible struggles. Besides that, they are also eager for the opportunity to learn some things themselves from filling in this role.
What do ambassadors need to know?
The club’s dual career vision / philosophy.
Their value to younger players and to the whole program. They could be an example or a form of best practice.
That being an ambassador could be an opportunity for themselves too, as they can gain experience in one-on-one coaching.
How do you involve ambassadors?
Ask them for joined meetings to evaluate the program.
Assign them as a ‘buddy’ to a younger athlete that sometimes needs some tips or a mental boost.
Let them participate in workshops and act as real life examples (maybe let them even give a workshop when they have the skills).
Be visible and let them know when and how they can reach out for you.
Guidelines for ambassadors to participate:
You are willing to participate in possible workshops for the athletes.
You are aware of the dual career vision of the club and are able to communicate this with people outside the club.
You are able to take part in dual career team meetings within the club, as you are the person who has the experience.
When you are in contact with one or more talents who might face some difficulties combining their sport and education or face other challenges / transitions, you are able to listen patiently to their stories and are able to provide helpful feedback or possible new insights. Besides that you may give them relevant examples or motivational speeches.
You are able to effectively communicate with the dual career coördinator and to discuss to what extent you can, and are willing to help.
You are able to acknowledge it when you face problems with your athlete that you can’t handle together and know who to turn to when she might be in need of an expert (sportpsychologist or pedagogue for example).
RESULTS FROM BEST PRACTICES FROM THE ERASMUS PLUS ICDC PROJECT
See being an ambassador as an opportunity for personal development. You have the opportunity to gain some experience in one-on-one coaching. That is a unique chance.
An advantage within a club is that several generations come together. Older athletes (or already stopped who still do something at the club) can serve as a kind of tutor for younger athletes. This tutor can then also get advice from the lifestyle or mental coach.
The ambassadors can play a part in the realization of new covenants or agreements. The ambassador can have a stimulating effect within as well as outside of the club and is, especially because of his or her past, able to make the needed connections with the educational field and the labour market and carry out the importance a Dual Career program.
He or she can furthermore play a part at the official kick-off of the program and in workshops and information meetings that are organized as part of the Dual Career program. The club should use the success story of the ambassador as a marketing tool, put it on the website/ newsletter and bring it to the attention of the media.
A young sports talent often looks up to the examples from the first teams of sports clubs. These older players are a lively source of inspiration. For this reason, sports clubs increasingly moved the training from the first team to the training complex of the youth department. Youthful athletes can then see much better what they are doing and the first team remains so much more part of the entire sports club.
Contact between, for example, players of a first team and sports talents in the Academy of the sports club also offers opportunities for supporting the dual careers. For example, the older players have experience combining study / work and sports or have learned to deal with certain challenges that occur during dual careers, such as an injury, de-selection or living on your own for the first time. This experience can be particularly useful for the clubs young sports talents. It also contributes to more connection within the club. The challenge in this contact is that it is not only about the elite sport, but that the coaching also has a holistic approach.