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25/07/2017 11:40
Zijl and Kuipers shining brightest in Oranje masterclass
2017 CEV U16 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, Bulgaria, July 25, 2017. It has been some start to the #EuroVolleyU16W for the Netherlands in their Pool I campaign in Sofia. Three wins from three including two 3-0 victories and an additional 3-1 triumph, coming against Finland, Denmark, and Greece respectively, has seen them soar clear into the top two of the pool, behind pacesetters Italy merely on points scored and firmly on course for the semi-finals.

Netherlands coach Eelco Beijl owes this not only to some sterling team performances, but also to the individual exploits of two of the Oranje’s promising young stars, Anna Zijl and Jette Kuipers. The duo, who have scored 80 and 68 points in Sofia respectively, are both sat in the top ten of the leading scorers ranking in Sofia and Samokov, their sizeable contribution proving critical in the remarkable progress of the Dutch team since first taking to court at Hristo Botev Hall.

They have put in displays of pace, power, and precision on court to power their side through three fellow Pool I sides already. Although much of this is owed to their natural talent, another vital aspect of their success so far is also owed to Beijl’s coaching philosophy in the Dutch camp, a revelation offering something of a dissection into the secret of their success in Sofia thus far.

The head coach himself, following the Netherlands’ latest victory over Denmark, highlighted the importance of fitness, diet, and conditioning as one of the key aspects to keeping his players fit for matches, free from injury and able to express themselves on court. It is this which he believes is one of the keys to getting the best out of his players, including his star duo.

“In our pre, and post-match regimes we are very strict,” Beijl explained. “The players are required to warm up and cool down before anything else to avoid picking up injuries. But what is also important is teaching the girls to be professional about their diet at such an early age, and it is this philosophy of professionalism that they will also need to learn in future, so where is the harm in drilling that into their minds now? I would never deny them a sugar dessert during meals before or after the game, but I invite them to think about the effects it has on their bodies, and that gives them free reign to make decisions like this for themselves. We mustn’t forget their age, so I don’t force their regimen upon them, they grow into it and learn themselves. By being less controlling about this also, the girls also gain more natural respect toward me and my staff and trust us more when we remonstrate during games.”

Another key aspect of Beijl’s coaching philosophy is ensuring that his players know their individual roles on court and go out with the intention of keeping to that role to the best of their ability; a key psychological aspect of his team’s training regime. One of the leading Dutch duo, Jette Kuipers, after the victory over Denmark highlighted that every player goes into every game knowing their responsibilities. It is that role which they must play out to the best of their ability at all times, which gives them the platform to then use their individual talent to be creative and improvise on court when necessary to get the better of the opposition.

“It was a difficult game against Denmark, but we always have a tactical edge if everybody does their job on the court properly. As long as we keep doing what we are doing on the court as our coach tells us, we have every chance of being able to challenge for a medal. The feeling of winning inspires us to keep going and it breeds confidence. Italy are the other strong team in the pool, and we are ready to give them a tough game if they want to get the better of us!” she said.

On the evidence of their performances so far, and having taken a glance at the professionalism bred within the Dutch camp, it is clear that the recipe for the success of the Dutch, including their star duo, is built around placing old heads on young shoulders. It now only remains to be seen as to how far this so far successful formula will take them at this flagship tournament in Bulgaria.

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News nr. 6 of 22
25/07/2017 23:07:00
Italy and Belarus soar into #EuroVolleyU16W semi-finals
23/07/2017 22:42:00
Netherlands keep pace with Italy as Romania take over at the top of Pool II

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