Tomas teaches what makes a great player for RYT
Launched in 2019, the EHF’s Respect Your Talent (RYT) programme promotes holistic development of talented players’ careers — on and off the handball court.
In the programme’s pioneering approach, the world’s best handball players, supported by leading field experts, inspire and instruct young athletes on topics such as dual career, mental performance, anti-doping, media and sports law.
The programme will also serve as a central source of competence in the future, assisting the European handball family with training, research and networking opportunities to foster sustainable pathways for aspiring players.
The programme has been in full flow at the M20 EHF EURO 2022, where the future stars of men’s handball are trying to make a name for themselves. The top of the crop — namely those who received the Player of the Match awards during the first part of the competition — had the chance to meet one of the best right wings in handball’s history, Victor Tomas, one of the RYT ambassadors present on site in Portugal.
“It is a very special programme. It helps young players and young talents to be closer to former players, like myself, and to learn about things that will be part of their careers, both on and off the court,” says Tomas.
“I am very happy to be among young players. It helps me remember how it was to take part in tournaments. It is a trip down memory lane and I feel very grateful to be an ambassador. As a captain in my playing career, I always like to help everybody.”
I am very happy to be among young players. It helps me remember how it was to take part in tournaments. It is a trip down memory lane and I feel very grateful to be an ambassador. As a captain in my playing career, I always like to help everybody.
The theme of the workshop held by Tomas on Thursday was ‘What makes a great player?’ The former Barça ace explained the importance of the off-court skills from his own experience.
“There is a mix of things that makes a player great. Of course, one needs to be great on the court, but also off the playing court it is important to take care of yourself, of your body and especially mental health. It is still a taboo subject in handball, in the society in general, but I think that mental health is very important for young athletes.
“A player needs to respect himself in every aspect of life, not only when practicing, playing, lifting weights. This is what it means to be great,” says Tomas.
In attendance, several rising stars, like Portugal’s Francisco da Mota Costa and Martim da Mota Costa, Spain’s Antonio Martinez Llamazares and Croatia’s Dominik Kuzmanovic, took notes and enjoyed the input from Tomas. The rising stars saw videos from other ambassadors of the programme, such as Vid Kavticnik and Kari Aalvik Grimsbo.
A player needs to respect himself in every aspect of life, not only when practicing, playing, lifting weights. This is what it means to be great.
There is also a new app ready to take them to the new level, which introduces new types of training, such as mental fitness, sports law, media training and advice for managing a dual career. Several of these topics were touched on in Thursday’s workshop with Tomas.
“This app is very helpful for young players, because they will be able to enter this training area which is very interesting. They can also listen to tips from top players, which will help them find their own way,” says Tomas.
“They should use the app because it is helpful. There are subjects which are not breached by the people around them and, at some point, they will have to confront these situations in their career. If they can get these tips from somebody who has been through all of this, it could help them a lot.”
After all the activities were done, the players were motivated to themselves become ambassadors for their peer group and introduce their teammates to the new RYT app.