The Master in Coaching journey of: Former professional football player Harm Zeinstra

Harm Zeinstra followed the Master in Coaching at Johan Cruyff Institute in 2018 and two years later, the former professional football player looked back on that journey

When I started the Master in Coaching, I had just ended my career as a professional football player. If someone asked me who I was, I would answer ‘I’m a football player’. Since my childhood I had always identified myself with what I did: playing football. If I played badly, I personally felt bad too. When I stopped playing football I was searching for my own identity for a while, regardless of my role as a football player.

During the Master in Coaching I wanted to find out what my inner motivations were and in what way they had an effect on my personal development. Through the classes, group reflections and talks with my personal coach, Merijn Zeeman, I found who I truly was. Many challenging but valuable moments made me see that I am more than just a football player.

This process already started during the first class about Observing & Perceiving. Everything I thought, I saw and heard was my own perception of the truth. I always observed through my own lenses and this program has taught me to take off these lenses and just simply perceive and marvel at what I see. I believe that this awareness was one of the most important lessons for me.

“This program taught me to take off my ‘lenses’ and perceive and marvel at what I see. This awareness was one of the most important learning experiences for me”

Since doing the Master in Coaching, I notice that I am able to reflect better than before. Because I know who I am, I now know what’s important to me and why I behave in a certain way. In my work as a sports consultant and goalkeeping specialist I have also noticed that the program has made a valuable contribution, because I can now look more closely at the process and, as a result, can make good adjustments by asking other questions.

Finally, I became a father for the first time last year and I mainly want to inspire my son to choose his own path. I am aware of the fact that the way we raise him will be from our perception of what is ‘good’, but that he will eventually have to find his own way in life. With this, I hope to always challenge him to ask questions and be able to perceive and marvel in his own way.

Credit photo: Henk Jan Dijks –


Leadership in Coaching

The Leadership in Coaching Program in Amsterdam is developed for everybody (in or outside sports) who seeks self-knowledge and self-development with the aim to improve oneself as a (sport) coach and/or manager. This 10-month program is delivered in Dutch and based on the vision of Johan Cruyff in which sport coaching is more than using tactical and technical knowledge. It is about knowing yourself and developing your own unique coaching style, and to apply that to the players / staff, the team and the environment. We believe that you can only coach others, if you know how to coach yourself.

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