Laurens ten Dam: “Break the rules, not the law”

Professional cyclist Laurens ten Dam studies the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute. He wrote this column for Telesport

Currently, I am far into the autumn of my cycling career and I am focusing more and more on coaching. What motivates me as a coach is the pride I have when I see improvements in my athletes and fellow cyclists. It is amazing to see that someone performs better than expected. That really makes my day!

I think I can teach my future athletes to find balance in life according to my motto ‘live slow, ride fast’. It is easy to focus too much on the small details in cycling. I have to protect the bigger picture and let my athletes enjoy cycling, while at the same time they are experiencing a lot of pressure. That is quite a challenge, which I also have to deal with.

Laurens ten Dam - Master in Coaching - Johan Cruyff Institute

What I want to improve in myself in order to be a better a coach is that I don’t want to judge too quickly. If I have trouble supporting someone because I feel that my advice is not being listened to, then I no longer feel like dealing with them. I am currently studying the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute and I am learning how to deal with my shortcomings as a person and coach.

I always strive to get the best out of myself, on all fronts. On the bike, I am always 100% focused on performing, but outside of cycling I am with my family and friends. I do things my way. Break the rules, not the law! That is the most important lesson that cycling has taught me. I find my own way, but still with the aim to achieve the best possible result.

Where do I see myself in five years? Then, I won’t be cycling professionally any more, I’ll be enjoying my family and traveling. I’ll have my own company that organizes gravel events, I’ll have developed my own coffee brand with perhaps my own restaurant business and I’ll be coaching athletes to find the balance between performing under pressure and maintaining the pleasure in cycling.


Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam uses a rich learning environment that fosters educational tools based on a student interaction model. We aim for a mix of students from sports and business sectors, which also enables students to share their unique experiences and learn from each other. Through ‘Cruyffian’ teaching methods the students will engage actively in creative challenges that require effort, commitment and intuitive thinking. Visit the web pages to find out more about these programs, which we deliver in English:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *