Since 2019, the Respect Your Talent (RYT) programme has inspired and educated up-and-coming stars of the game, and 2023 was no different.

The RYT philosophy is based around professionalising a holistic career approach, and helping aspiring players gather awareness, knowledge and skills to become an even better, more complete athlete. RYT also serves as a central source of competence, assisting the European handball family with training and network opportunities to foster sustainable pathways of young players.

In 2023, there was plenty of RYT activity. In January, 30 of the most talented male players from the M18 category gathered in Vienna, Austria. This was the second RYT Camp for boys.
Luka Stepančić of OTP Bank-Pick Szeged, former Spanish international Carlos Prieto, assistant coach of HC Erlangen Ólafur Stefánsson and Slovenia legend Vid Kavtičnik were the event’s ambassadors, with Stepančić and Stefansson taking part in their first RYT event.

At the W17 and W19 EHF EUROs and EHF Championships there were a series of Player of the Match events. From these, 30 W17 talents selected in the All-star Teams, were invited to the December girls’ camp in Vienna.

The girls’ camp focused on the ‘female player journey’, with ambassadors Andrea Lekić, Anja Althaus, Carmen Martin and Jelena Grubišić leading the participants through five stages: ‘navigating your journey’, by building a dual career; ‘fuelling your journey’, through nutrition, recovery and fitness; ‘stabilising your journey’ through mental fitness; ‘protecting your journey’, with sessions on sports law and anti-doping; and ‘sharing your journey’, through media. Nutrition, recovery and fitness is a new topic on the programme, introduced for the first time at the camp.

Also in December, the EHF launched the RYT App, which is available on Apple and Google stores. The app includes training sessions from all five off-court topics (dual career, media, sports law, anti-doping, mental fitness), ambassadors’ tips and tricks, and quizzes for young talents to brush up their knowledge. Throughout the digital training sessions in the app and by collecting so-called ‘talents’ (a specific points system), the young athletes can take part in online ambassador sessions, where different off-court topics are discussed with ambassadors.

EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner said: “Many female team sports are on an unprecedented rise. Handball is one of them. Keeping the balance, staying healthy, and performing well in such a dynamic environment is challenging. This requires competences. RYT wants to contribute to young players being better able to deal with handball’s manifold demands. And what better way to learn than with your international peers, and directly from some of the world’s best handball players and leading experts? This is the unique RYT Camp spirit.”

EHF President Michael Wiederer added: “It is of huge importance to the EHF to support young handball players in building their future. Systematically investing in their talent is key here. The RYT App is a brand new source of inspiration and knowledge. We connected a large team of topical experts and world-class players to create easy, short, gamified and hands-on training sessions, having the talents and their concrete career challenges in mind. Via the App, we want to give every young player the opportunity to access most relevant resources to help them take more control of their personal journey.”


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