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Football News 7

Balance between Sport and School 
As an “elite school of football”, 1899 Hoffenheim provides its players with an optimal
combination of intensive training and a solid education.

Henrik Westerberg
School Coordinator

Between school and stadium

1899 Hoffenheim provides optimal opportunities for ambitious footballers to purposefully move forward and develop as young athletes. According to our philosophy we strive to offer a holistic approach to youth development, especially with the younger talented players, by placing an equal emphasis on their academic achievement, their social behaviour within the team, and their personal development.We are very proud and grateful to have been working in association with five Sinsheim schools since July 2008, all of which belong to the “Elite School of Football category” of the DFB. This gives our youngsters the fantastic opportunity to systematically combine optimal football training with a comprehensive schooling program. We believe that their performance on the pitch goes hand in hand with their academic performance. Therefore, the “achtzehn99 ACADEMY” together with the local Sinsheim Elite Schools of Football encourage and motivate the players to work equally hard on reaching their sporting goals as well as their academic goals.

1899 Hoffenheim therefore expect an active involvement from all of the players when it comes to school work. Our idea involves the youngsters to be committed to activities beside their athletic performance. As a consequence we expect them to cope more efficiently with the pressure they are confronted with on the football pitch since they have learned to make informed decisions and handle unexpected situations more easily. Players who show an equal amount of ambitionin their schoolwork will have a much better grasp on how to handle the pressure’s of a football match. We are convinced that this approach is beneficial for the entire development of our young football talents. Finding the correct balance between school and sport most likely results in enhanced motivation and an increased sense of responsibility.

What is an Elite School of Football?
A large number of the most talented football players have to handle the conflict of their academic commitments clashing with the regular training sessions and other expectations the club might have. For this reason it is important to help the youngsters handle the increased burden of achieving both their academic and competitive sporting goals.. In this respect a close cooperation between the football association, the club, and the school is essential.
The Elite Schools of Football should lay the foundations for the talented players to cope with and ultimately ease the burden they are confronted with. “The founding of these elite schools is another step towards optimising talent development in the region”, explained Dr. Theo Zwanziger, President of the German Football Association (DFB). “Elite School of Football” is a certificate that represents a well-run network of schools, performance centres and sports clubs. It guarantees that all the top talents will be given full assistance, with the goal of developing their academic performance alongside their sporting performance. The additional morning training sessions that are coordinated with their morning lessons are a prime example of this, as is the assistance with homework, tutoring and flexible exam times the players are afforded.In order to be certified as an Elite School of Football, the institution will have to meet a long list of criteria. In May 2008 the DFB’s board of examiners representatives, Frank Engel and Claus Junginger were highly impressed with 1899 Hoffenheim’s correct implementation of the core concepts. “We had a picture in our head before arriving and were proven right when we saw what an great job everyone had done and how hard they had all worked”, stated the two satisfied DFB representatives.

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