All HNK Hajduk Youth Academy Luka Kaliterna teams returned to their training sessions as of Monday. After the players of Hajduk II and the U-19 team started training last week, the U-17 and U-15 teams had their first training sessions today at Poljud.
Given that some of the preventive measures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are still in force, the youth categories must train in the opposite shifts from the first senior team. Since it is difficult to arrange a schedule in which everyone would have available training fields, it was decided that part of the youth teams will move to the playgrounds of different city neighborhoods that have playgrounds with artificial grass, starting with Mertojak, Blatine, Brda, Ravne njive, Mejaši and Bačvice.
This is also an ideal opportunity to test the project "Let's get children back to playgrounds", which was launched at the end of last year, and its first phase consisted of four futsal tournaments that were successfully held at Gripe. The aim of the tournament was to simulate the conditions of street football during the winter break for children aged 8 to 12.
In the second phase, it is planned that during the warmer days (spring, summer, autumn) our youth teams partly train on the playgrounds of different city neighborhoods, and the main purpose is to distance the children under the age of 12 from a fully professional environment and motivate them to spend as much time as possible enjoying street football without coaching instructions, which primarily encourages the development of their creativity.
The project emphasizes the importance of street football and it has been scientifically proven that professional players, characterized as highly creative, spent twice as many hours on the street in their youth (by the age of 14 ) than others. Since today's generations of children spend less time playing football on school playgrounds, futsal and free practice can become a logical substitute to make up for the hours of street football they lack compared to children in Brazil, Argentina and other countries where street football is still widely present.
Trainings on the playgrounds at Mertojak, Blatine, Brda, Ravne njive and Mejaši therefore come as an ideal test for the project at a time when special epidemiological measures are underway, and in the future the plan is to visit and train in all Split city areas. In addition to the development context, this project aims to convey to the children from the Academy a sense of belonging to all those neighborhoods that on every corner depict the love and symbiosis of the city of Split and HNK Hajduk.