Former basketball coach Remy de Wit received his diploma for the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute in 2013 and has been the high performance director of the Dutch Speed Skating Federation since this summer
As the former head coach of the Dutch women’s national basketball team, a primary school director and board member of the FSG Academy, Remy de Wit became the high performance director of the Dutch Speed Skating Federation last summer, succeeding Arie Koops. Since then, De Wit has been managing five disciplines: short track, speed skating, figure skating, inline skating and marathon.
“In my opinion, my employment history is the basis for the position I now occupy. It is a huge honor that I have worked very hard for, and I still am,” says the Cruyff alumnus proudly. “The Basketball Federation is a small organization, which gave me the opportunity to experience the implementations of the former high performance director from up close. I was also there at the beginning of all the developments within women’s basketball and I was allowed to determine and experience the way to the top. That appears to be very valuable nowadays. My educational background also helps me every day. Together with my commercial experience of the past years I can switch in different situations, because I can properly assess all interests. At a young age, I was already the director of a primary school, where I mainly learned how to make good policy, which brings continuity to an organization.”
“Within speed skating there are five disciplines that all have their own DNA, but also a lot of overlap. The challenge is to make this even more functional”
Meanwhile, he has made a start and De Wit has been working for the Speed Skating Federation in Utrecht for almost three months. How does the former basketball coach experience his new challenge? “My experiences in the speed skating world are very good and warm so far. I notice in everything that it is a big sport with lots of interests and great involvement—logically, because we are talking about one of the biggest Olympic sports in our country. However, I have just started, so I want to get to know the field better and ensure a good continuity of the training model, from young talent to the icons of our speed skating nation. Within my responsibilities are five disciplines that all have their own DNA, but also have a lot of overlap. The challenge is to make this even more functional.”
With a responsibility for no less than five different disciplines, there are quite a few challenges awaiting De Wit. “Within speed skating, there is currently a lot of attention in our training plan for the further development of the Regional Talent Centers. In addition, there is enough to do in each discipline. This ranges from setting up more training facilities within figure skating to streamlining the competitive model in speed skating even more. In our multi-annual plan this is all well defined and we will have to look at what is feasible, not feasible and desirable in the coming years,” according to the technical director.
Speed skating is a national pride and one of the biggest Olympic sports in our country. During the recent Olympic Winter Games in Japan, TeamNL finished in the fifth place in the medal table with a total of 20 medals, of which 16 were for speed skating. To follow up on this success story, new developments are important. Does De Wit believe that there are still major developments possible in speed skating, such as the clap skate, or is there only room for developments on a more detailed level? “The world is getting smarter and the sports industry is growing too. For every Olympics there are always new developments, but the clap skate was an exceptional one that was really visible to the public. The most recent developments have been less dominant and saved only tenths of seconds instead of whole seconds per race. I don’t know if we are still going to get a revolution like the clap skate, but we are always looking for this, together with the NOC*NSF and many scientific bodies.”
In the summer of 2013, the 43-year-old De Wit, who, in addition to the Dutch women’s basketball team, also coached the men of Den Helder Seals, successfully completed the Master in Coaching. Did he gain the knowledge which he now can use so well? “My current way of working is still based on the subjects and knowledge that I acquired during the Master in Coaching. I have experienced what communication and coaching in the broadest sense of the word means for me and my environment. The confrontation with your inner self, the environment and the safe and good setting, contributed to who I am now and what I can do in my current job. It was a revelation!”
STUDY PROGRAMS JOHAN CRUYFF INSTITUTE AMSTERDAM