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2011-10-26

Comprehensive Approach at Halmstad University Regarding Sport at Elite Level

Halmstad University is one of 14 Swedish higher education institutions that have expressed an interest in becoming a so-called national sports university. The Swedish Sports Confederation (RF) is, at present, visiting the current higher education institutions to discuss a new Swedish model where education and elite sport at the highest level can be combined.

Last Friday, Maja Uebel, development manager of the Swedish Sports Confederation, and Kent Lindahl, director of the Confederation, visited Halmstad University.

"During the year we have taken a much more comprehensive approach regarding our sports-related activities. We have accomplished much in a short time; however, this is just the beginning," says Rasmus Tornberg, director of studies for the programme Professional Sports: focus on golf.

Maja Uebel, development manager at the Swedish Sports Confederation and Kent Lindahl, director of the Confederation, met with representatives from Halmstad University, Halmstad municipality and Halland sports federations to discuss the University's interest to become a so-called national sports university. Photo: Anders Petersson

Standard

National Model


At upper secondary level, the Swedish model to combine sport and education is regarded one of the foremost internationally. Therefore, starting with university visits, the idea is that the National Sports Confederation will develop a standard national model for higher education.

"There are a number of parameters that I think need to apply when discussing whether a university can call themselves a national sports university: Are there strong and dynamic research environments? Are there alternative career paths for the students? Is there strong support for the project from the University's management? Should Halmstad University take-on the responsibility for the future assignment, then it must result in increasing the value and status of our present activities," says Mikael Alexandersson, Vice-Chancellor of Halmstad University.

Currently the University has seven programmes with a sports and health science profile. In addition, there are several independent sports-related courses available to study. It is, of course, possible to combine sports with studying one of the many other courses offered, as students can get an individualised curriculum.

Golf:

successful example


One of the University's most successful examples highlighted at the meeting was, Professional Sport: focus on golf. Today, 20 students are studying the programme which is a part-time course (two years of studies over a period of three years). The programme leads to a degree, where among other things, the students study sports-psychology, kinematics and physiology.

"It is a good example that has several of the components that are required for a national sports university," says Mikael Alexandersson.

Two similar programmes are planned to start at the university next autumn with a focus on handball and table tennis.

"To attract more athletes from other sports creates added value and helps to develop a unique elite environment where athletes can share their experiences," says Sofia Grönberg Whitmore, sports and golf coach at the Scandinavian School of Golf.

TEXT: LARS ÖSTERLIND

Updated 2011-10-26