SportWays x EHF: the story of Panos from Cyprus | SportWays
25-04-2019

SportWays x EHF: the story of Panos from Cyprus

SportWays and the European Hockey Federation have been partners for 25 years now. Time to share some success stories of European coaches who have been part of our camps. Let's kick off with Panos from Cyprus!

"I was considering stopping hockey because of some very negative experiences that happened in 2017, but attending the SportWays hockey camp reignited my fire"

Hi Panos! Let’s start with an introduction about you.
“My name is Panos Panayiotopoulos and I’m from Cyprus.”

What is your current involvement in hockey?
“I currently coach in my country and play for the national team.”

How was your first SportWays experience?
“I attended the Amsterdam EuroHockey camp in 2017 and Amsterdam Top Hockey Camp in 2018. It was absolutely fantastic! The first thing that pops into everyone's mind is the social aspect, but I actually enjoy the hockey experience of the whole thing so much. I get to learn and experience new drills and also challenge myself as a trainer.”

How would you describe the development of hockey in your country?
“In Cyprus, hockey development is not great, unfortunately. We have a lack of resources which leads to a lack of players.”

You were invited by the EHF as part of the 'Supporting National Growth' programme. Why is this programme so important?
“I come from a nation which needs as much support as possible, which is why I think it's very important to put key people in key positions within the National Association in order to propel hockey forward. While the SportWays camps are great, it’s important to realise there are other obstacles concerning the development of hockey, like pitches. Programmes like those offered through SportWays are a great start when it comes to developing coaches and umpires, but we won’t get very far without facilities. Additional support in these other areas would also be appreciated.”
 

Give and Get
One of the EHF programmes – that goes by the name Give and Get – involves sending used pitches different National Associations that can’t afford a new one by themselves. Besides, the FIH is currently doing a research on the shift to dry playing surfaces. The EHF has requested the FIH in this matter to consider developing more affordable options for pitches as well.

 

How did your experience at the SportWays hockey camp impact your hockey development?
“It actually had a very positive impact on me. I was considering stopping hockey because of some very negative experiences that happened in 2017, but attending the SportWays hockey camp reignited my fire and looking at it 2 years later, it was one of the things that kept me going so I am very grateful for that. SportWays also gave me the chance to go to the Barcelona LAB where I had the most interesting hockey discussions next to some of the best hockey brains in Europe. That was another huge wake-up call and it also showed me that I am moving in the right direction.”

 

What would you say to someone who was considering joining a SportWays hockey camp?
“As a player - super fun and super informative.
As a trainer - super informative and super fun.
Overall, I would greatly encourage it - they're an organisation who know what they're doing and I support them wholeheartedly.”

Want to be part of this year’s hockey overnight experience? Check it here!
 

Together we develop hockey
SportWays and The European Hockey Federation have a longstanding partnership for 25 years and promote hockey development in Europe. They do this by working together to create possibilities for ambitious coaches from all over Europe. This involves the Coaches 4 Europe seminars, allowing coaches to attend the SportWays LAB in Barcelona and inviting them to join the SportWays EHF Excellence Hockey Camp in Barcelona. This joint effort builds a concept where both parties support the education of young and talented coaches – a key component in the development of European hockey. The collaboration is part of the Supporting National Growth (SNG) initiative. Read more about the partnership here.