Dr Luciana De Martin Silva, the Women’s Futsal Head Coach at Hartpury University, reflected on a “fantastic” experience at the European Championships as Joint Head Coach of the England Deaf Women’s futsal team.
A Principal Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Coaching Science at Hartpury, Dr De Martin Silva helped guide the team to fourth place in the showpiece tournament in Finland.
England beat the Netherlands, Denmark, Russia and the Republic of Ireland, before losing to Germany in the semi-finals and Spain in the third-place play-off match.
“The experience was fantastic and I feel very proud to have been selected to lead the team alongside Tony Elliott and all the support staff,” said Dr De Martin Silva, who has been coaching the team since January 2017.
“It was a great opportunity to implement many of the coaching concepts that we discuss here at Hartpury with our students as part of our sports degree courses.
“I have been very fortunate to be able to link theory and practice whilst working as a principal lecturer and futsal head coach here at Hartpury.
“It has certainly informed my approach during training camps and whilst away with the team.”
Dr De Martin Silva’s England role provides Hartpury students with opportunities to experience what it is like to be involved in an international and multi-disciplinary coaching team.
Calum Wands, a BSc (Hons) Sport Coaching graduate and current MSc (Hons) Professional Development (Coaching Science) student, said: “The experience of coaching against the England Deaf Futsal Women’s team was an incredible day.
“Many different coaching techniques and skills were shown by the England staff, which was very interesting to analyse.
“It’s made me realise how important my communication is to my players, whether that’s visual or verbal.”
Holly Rodgers, a first-year BSc (Hons) Physical Education and School Sport student, said: “It was a new challenge and I relished in having the experience. It showed me that you can change and adapt teaching techniques/methods to suit the needs of everyone.”
Hartpury students took part in helping England prepare for the European Championships, playing against the team as well as having dinner with the players and staff.
The role also enhances research that can inform future practice, with Dr De Martin Silva developing an action research project with Dr John Francis from the University of Worcester entitled ‘Deaf International Players’ Learning Experience in Preparation for Major Competition: A Longitudinal Study’.
Students studying for a sports degree at Hartpury University have countless opportunities to take insights from the classroom and apply them on site, working with elite athletes across Hartpury’s 10 sports academies.
They gain work and real-world experience thanks to Hartpury long-standing partnerships and network of contacts with major sports clubs, organisations and governing bodies.
Hartpury graduates have moved into a wide range of careers relating to sport, including coaching, teaching, performance, therapy, strength and conditioning, business and media throughout the UK and internationally.
Students at Hartpury have access to a range of top-class sports facilities, including a floodlit grass football pitch and two 3G all-weather surfaces.
Hartpury’s new £8.8 million Sports Academy includes a biomechanics laboratory, a rehabilitation suite featuring an anti-gravity treadmill, and a human performance laboratory with an altitude chamber, and a sports hall.