Jesenice, 18 March 2021 – Footballers of the SIJ Acroni Jesenice Football Club took part in a special experience: for two hours, coaching duties were taken over by a woman without links to football, former top cross-country skier Petra Majdič. The training session took place as one of the events organized by SIJ Group, which uses its Mind of Steel sponsorship program to promote and strengthen the sense of belonging among the members of clubs whose important supporter it is. This event was organized in cooperation with the Group’s company SIJ Acroni and the NK SIJ Acroni Jesenice.
Together with the coaching team, Petra Majdič trained the football players in agility and coordination, as well as gave them exercises for improving balance and reaction time that featured elements of plyometric training, which is based on various patterns of activation of the neuromuscular system and aims to improve the ability of explosive, rapid muscle contraction. It is also increasingly popular as an effective method of exploring the capabilities of one's own body.
After the training, Maks Džamastagić, NK SIJ Acroni Jesenice U15 coach and head of the section, said:
"Development of motor skills, which also include agility and coordination, is an important area in football. At our club, we therefore pay considerable attention to the development of these skills; the training session with Petra Majdič that brought additional motivation and strengthened the mind of steel will certainly contribute to even better performance on the pitch, as well as to overcoming various obstacles in everyday life."
Based on her own experience, Petra Majdič agrees that it is very beneficial to occasionally change up the training sessions with completely different content. “It is essential to broaden the horizons of young athletes and try to introduce them to different approaches to training so that they don’t get trapped by purely routine training sessions.” In sport, it is crucial that you are able to react quickly in a given situation and surprise your opponent, as well as to know how to train your mind so that it does not act as an obstacle and allows you to go beyond the limits of your abilities. Exercising the mind is equally important as exercising the body.”
Young football talents took part with great enthusiasm and were impressed by different things: For 12-year-old Adam, a favourite exercise was catching balls passed by another competitor from behind. The game of tic-tac-toe where you had to run towards the net with a quick push-off and put three elements in a row as fast as possible, was a favourite of 16-year-old Igor from the U 17 group. As the most useful skill for future matches, the young footballers unanimously chose running while looking behind you, as this is frequently the way to monitor where the ball is on the pitch.
The intense and slightly different training session at the stadium meant a dynamic and effective change to the training system for the participants. The training session was carefully adapted and took place while observing all the measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus disease.
The training session for the SIJ Acroni Jesenice football players to improve agility and coordination concludes the series of activities for awakening the mind of steel with the help of Petra Majdič – Ambassador of the Mind of Steel. Together with Petra Majdič, we organized six motivational workshops in 2019 for members of sponsored clubs, for students of the Jesenice and Ravne Grammar Schools and for the children of SIJ Group employees. Last autumn and this year, we also organized training sessions with a twist for the members of our sponsored clubs. Motivational workshops and training sessions with Petra were attended by over 400 athletes and students in total. As part of the SIJ Day, as many as 500 children of SIJ Group employees participated with her in the mini Olympics.
SIJ Group is involved in numerous sports partnerships in Jesenice and Ravne na Koroškem, where the companies of the SIJ Group are located. SIJ Acroni Jesenice, SIJ Ravne Systems and SIJ Metal Ravne sponsor several local sports clubs, while numerous additional activities and events to awaken the mind of steel provide a new dimension and added value of the support for all SIJ Group employees as well as the local community.To raise general awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and exercise, as well as to underline the important role of steel in sports and sports infrastructure, SIJ Group is also a leading partner of the Olympic Committee of Slovenia (OKS) at the national level. Together, SIJ Group and the Olympic Committee set up steel outdoor training stations in various Slovenian cities and award scholarships to young athletes, children of employees. With this business and sponsorship strategy, SIJ Group pursues the corporate vision of sustainable development that far exceeds its social responsibility towards the environment and local communities.
Petra Majdič, the ambassador of the project Mind of Steel, is a former Olympic athlete and the most successful Slovenian cross-country skier in history. The general public knows her story from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, when she won an Olympic medal, despite a fall that left her with broken ribs. With her personality and life story she personifies what it means to have a “mind of steel”. She is now spreading this message through the sponsorship project Mind of Steel, working as an ambassador of SIJ Group’s sponsorship and donation partnerships among local communities, employees, and the general public.
SIJ – Slovenian Steel Group, d.d.
mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile: +386 41 313 532