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Shaping student-athletes for success

the Mediterranean College of Sport (MCS) will open in 2024.

It all starts with a dream, a child’s dream of pursuing a successful dual career in sports and education.
The dream takes them through a well-planned and supportive process, bravely navigating through the struggles and challenges of youth development.

In the realm of sports education, the Mediterranean College of Sport (MCS) aims to be a beacon of excellence, providing a dynamic and vibrant learning environment for student-athletes guided by a dedicated team of professionals.

We had the opportunity to sit down with George Micallef, the Director of Sport Development and Recruitment at MCS, to delve into the college’s purpose, vision, and coaching philosophy.

Opening its doors in September 2024, MCS will cater to students aged between 11 and 18, specialising in football, athletics, swimming, water polo, and artistic swimming.

It offers a unique opportunity for students to complete their education up to Sixth Form level while honing their sporting abilities and strengths.

Located opposite St Aloysius College in Birkirkara, MCS stands as a separate educational institution, distinct in both its educational atmosphere and curriculum.

At MCS, sport takes centre stage in the educational approach, aiming to unlock the full potential of student-athletes and foster a sustainable dual-career ecosystem.

Fostering Growth Mindset, Potential

Micallef, formerly the first Head of the National Sport School, passionately describes the college’s mission, emphasising the importance of developing athletes with a growth mindset.

“Our vision is to integrate coaching, sports science, and educational excellence in a dual career path,” Micallef explained.

“By nurturing holistic well-being and a learner-centred approach, we can enable all student-athletes to unlock and fulfill their potential.”

MCS’s coaching philosophy places great importance on coaching the person behind the sport.

Micallef highlights that each athlete is an individual with unique goals, strengths, and challenges. The college’s sports coaching philosophy is rooted in the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) approach, which encompasses physical, technical, tactical, and psychological aspects.

Age-appropriate training and development are essential, recognising the distinct capacities of athletes at different stages of their development.

Micallef emphasises that MCS’s coaching approach will be tailored to each athlete’s age and individual needs.

Shaping Character

Core values will play a vital role in shaping the character of student-athletes at MCS. Micallef said: “We believe in instilling and promoting core values such as work ethic, discipline, resilience, passion, and creativity.

“These values serve as the solid foundation of our coaching philosophy, guiding athletes in their sporting journey and shaping their character for life beyond sports.”

Creating a positive and caring environment is another crucial aspect of MCS’s coaching philosophy.

“We will foster an environment where athletes are supported and encouraged,” Micallef noted.

“We will prioritise the emotional well-being of athletes, promoting mental resilience, self-confidence, and a growth mindset.”

In line with a progressive approach, bio-banding will be implemented to match athletes based on their biological development rather than just chronological age. This approach maximises physical, psychological, and social benefits, enhancing skill development, reducing injury risks, and promoting healthy competition.

MCS values inquiry-based learning, encouraging athletes to actively participate in their own development by asking questions, exploring possibilities, and seeking deeper understanding.

This fosters critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and a stronger connection to their sport.

To maximise athlete development, MCS will adopt a multidisciplinary team approach, emphasising collaboration and open communication among athletes, coaches, parents, and other stakeholders.
Micallef underscored the importance of alignment and a unified sporting community, stating, “We will involve all parties in decision-making processes, ensuring that everyone’s perspectives are heard and respected. This collaborative approach helps create a supportive and cohesive environment for student-athletes.”

Sport Science

Micallef emphasised that the X factor in MCS’s sports provision will be a state-of-the-art Sport Science and Research Centre.

“Sports Science will be the vehicle to optimise performance potential and the physical and psycho-social development of our young athletes,” he explained.

The programme covers areas such as strength and conditioning, sport psychology, performance analysis, sport nutrition, sport biomechanics, and sport physiology. These disciplines build the fundamentals underlying physical and mental capacities, enabling athletes to express their skills at a higher level.

Micallef reiterated the college’s commitment to providing a secure, enjoyable, and uplifting coaching environment. “We will strive to assist athletes in making significant improvements, setting realistic and attainable goals, and ensuring their long-term development,” he concluded.

With a clear vision, a learner-centred approach, and a coaching philosophy focused on holistic development, the Mediterranean College of Sport will seek to shape future elite athletes and provide an enriching educational experience.

Through the integration of coaching, sports science, and educational excellence, MCS aims to pave the way for student-athletes to reach their full potential.

Registrations for admission into MCS are currently open through the college’s website www.mcs.edu.mt, and for more information, you can contact MCS at info@mcs.edu.mt.

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