Participants Well- Inspired by Speakers at 6th Edition of Aspire Academy Global Summit 2020

Prof. Di Salvo concluding the GS:  The 2022 Edition will be themed: “Fellows in the World Cup.”

Doha, Qatar; Saturday, November 7th, 2020.

The 6th Edition of Aspire Academy Global Summit Football Performance and Science 2020 held virtually on 5th November was applauded by all participants as a resounding success topped off by inspirational talks from outstanding diverse speakers. In attendance were about 200 invited Aspire Fellows Community members from 50 leading clubs and 11 national federations. The online summit served a mix of 15-minute-long talks, research presentation and workshops.

Speaking during the summit opening remarks, Professor Valter Di Salvo, Executive Director of the Summit, said, “We welcome all football experts from 50 clubs and national federations to this unique event taking place in a different period in our existence. To be able to meet like this online is a testament to Aspire Fellows Community’s strength, belief and excellence that together we have nurtured and developed since we began in 2014. During this difficult period with the pandemic we must find ways to reduce distance between ourselves as well as between coaches and players and have been able to do so, thanks to webinars. We are trying to adjust to this difficult period and this summit serves as an example of what we can do to adapt and continue working on our programs.

This year the summit has moved from Round-Table to TED Talk format as we learn from inspirational speakers from different sports and fields. We will travel from football, fencing, athletics, eSports and to Spaceflight. Aspire Academy is a leader in sports performance and science in Qatar and beyond and we are proud and happy to continue contributing in the development of youthful athletes through among others encouragement of scientific modern ways including latest research and technologies to develop talented youth,” said Professor Valter Di Salvo.

Vialli: learning from Failure is part of the process to improve:

First to speak during the summit, was former Italy international player Gianluca Vialli who shared stories on personal history on talent, leadership and failure. Talking about a time when he was called by Chelsea chairman for a meeting only to be sacked as team manager, he remarked. “For weeks l was depressed, cried and was angry and felt insecure.  After a while and having spoken to a friend, l realized l needed to be honest with myself and be self -analytical. I realized l had made mistakes and accepted them and learn from them. Failure is part of the process of what we do. There are no failures out there- only set-backs and remember you can come back stronger from set-backs”, said Vialli who considers himself lucky to have transformed his passion into a career as a footballer.

Talking about management in football, the former, Sampdoria, Juventus and Chelsea player said, “The things we believe in and our philosophy of life determine the coach or manager we become.  Leadership is a transformation of your character. Great leaders have been great followers.

As for disappointments that come with the job of managing a football team, Vialli said, “Unless you have been sacked once you have not been a manager” In terms of his perspective on talent. He added, “Talent is a gift, but it is not the most important aspect in a sportsman’s life – the process of nurturing that talent is  more important.  A good work ethic, body language, attitude, your energy and effort require zero talent but are very important  part of how you transform your passion into a job, said Vialli who concluded by saying, “ There are no failures out there- only set-backs and remember you can come back stronger from set-backs.”

Vio: Wembrace to inspire a new generation of athletes:

Paralympian fencer Bebe Vio,( Beatrice Vio) in her talk spoke about how she and fellow impaired athletes are out to inspire a new generation of athletes to find the strength that lies with everyone. The only wheelchair fencer in the world to compete with no arms and no legs, Bebe Vio shared on inner belief and drive her family has been her mainstay.  “40% of my body is technology she said. “I started fencing at an early age of 5 and when l was 11 l was struck by meningitis and while everything changed my family didn’t and remain very important in my life and career. The gold medalist Paralympian fencer, Bebe Vio gold thanked Aspire Academy for the work it is doing in the world of sport giving a platform and supporting sport development which dovetails with her own goals with WEmbrace.

Bebe Vio is heavily involved with WEmbrace which a global movement is aiming to get impaired people into sport and also use sport to unify Paralympics and Olympics. WEmbrace seeks to engage rest of the world about the benefits and merits of the impaired playing sport.  Paralympics is a platform that inspires many and allows the disabled to show that there are no limits,” said Bebe Vio.

Trouabal: Teamwork and Confidence led us to beat Great Britain

Former world record relay sprinter Jean-Charles Trouabal shared on the power of teamwork and its merits drawing on lessons he and his team-mates cultivated on their way to winning the 4 x 100m relay race with a world record time at 1990 European Championships.” The favorite for relay were the British team having won the 100m and 200m races, but we were able to pluck motivation from an earlier defeat from the British athletes like Linford Christie and John Regis. It was a time when The USA team led by Carl Lewis are individually better, but we set out to build a strong team based on togetherness, teamwork and confidence and went on to set a world record. It started with our coach who was very keen on data and numbers telling us that it was possible to break the world record if we worked hard enough – it could be done he said. The ingredients we had in our team included team-work, confidence and respect amongst each other from coaches, physiotherapist, medical and technical staff. We were all on the same page and had same goal”.

Debs: Competition at any level should be treated as a learning experience

Talking about rising from being an underdog to the favourite, a real experience he has faced in his career,  eSports back to back World champion, Sébastien Debs challenged the commonly used phrase in sport, “Defending Champions or Defending your title”- saying,  “ For me the often used phrase is a misnomer because whatever title you have won remains yours regardless of how you play in the next one win or lose. Looking at it this way reduces pressure on how you approach a competition you have won before.

We are often asked to fit a certain way because of past victories and how things were done but everybody is different, and l believe that, Competition at any level should be treated as a learning experience. You learn through your losses but also remember to win and learn from that too” said Sébastien Debs.

Fincke: Strength and fitness are vital in the life of Astronauts

Not many would immediately see the link between an Astronaut and the other speakers at this year’s Aspire Academy Global Summit Football Development and Science, but it was not until NASA Astronaut, Mike Fincke shared on the importance of teamwork as well how vital strength and fitness is in the life of Astronauts that the link became obvious. “Spaceflight is the biggest team sport there is – it can be argued that it’s not football or any other such sport, l say so because it takes 15 nations working together to build the International Space-station.

Spaceflight is like sport, there is lots of training and working together required to succeed. We go through things like staying fit by lifting weights in a weightless environment.  The following values, keeping faith and trust, keeping moving forward, embracing a feedback culture and managing one’s emotions form the core to achieving success in Spaceflight “, said NASA Astronaut, Mike Fincke.

Workshops developed on topics:

These brilliant speeches were followed by workshops were the participants split into 10 groups of about 15 members discussing the 5 topics derived from the speeches. This session was followed by a presentation on the Research Fellows Survey recently designed by the Aspire Fellows scientific committee. It will be part of the second common research on “Organizational structures and working practice of elite youth football academies”. The community was told of how a questionnaire drawn up will be send to clubs and federations as part of the survey.

Di Salvo: the next two editions in Doha will have to do with World Cup

Professor Valter Di Salvo, executive director of the summit, closed the summit by giving a sneak peek at the next two Aspire Academy Global Summit Football Performance and Science summits.  “The 2021 edition will be entitled “Aspire Fellows Meet Other Sports” and aimed at tapping into the benefits derived from introduction of sharing concept with expertise coming from other sports with the Fellows Community. Then the 2022 summit will go by the title, Aspire Fellows In the World Cup” and we will be near the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 we will harness the energized for this major sporting event through this edition of Aspire Academy Global Summit Football Development and Science.

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