Coaches youth academy NAC Breda completed a special edition of Master in Coaching

Coaches and other professionals from the youth academy of football club NAC Breda have completed the Master in Coaching of the Johan Cruyff Institute at their facilities

A group of professionals from the youth academy of NAC Breda have studied a special edition of the Master in Coaching offered by Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam. According to the program’s philosophy, ‘you can only coach others if you can coach yourself‘. Following the same line of thought, the youth academy took the step to study the program, at their facilities. “In our organization, we find it important that everyone gets as much insight as possible into themselves, so that they can optimally support the talents in their development”, said Eric Hellemons, head of the youth academy of NAC Breda, whose initiative it was to organize this edition of the Master, after he himself had done the program before.

“The staff members are now more aware of their own behavior versus that of youth players —and parents” – Eric Hellemons

“And of course, we want to do this in a pedagogically responsible way, which can sometimes be challenging in a top sports culture,” he continues. “So, it’s really nice to see that, thanks to the program, the staff has been able to implement improvements in their guidance, because they are now more aware of their own behavior versus that of youth players —and parents. I have also noticed that they now ask each other more critical and sincere questions, and that has enhanced the cooperation. The team has become even more open and active, and those are valuable developments!”

Pleun van Ginneken - NAC Breda - Johan Cruyff InstitutePLEUN VAN GINNEKEN
Sport Psychology and MSc in Exercise Science

“During the program, I became more aware of my own character and my behavior, and how this affects the coaching of players. If you are more aware of this, you will also learn how to do things differently. This allowed me to develop further as a sport psychologist and exercise scientist. And I believe this also means I can help the players of our youth academy even better.”

“This principle applies to anyone who coaches people, I think. I would like to thank the teachers for their enthusiasm and expertise during this course.”


On Location in Breda

Since the end of 2019, teacher-coaches of the Master in Coaching have traveled to NAC Breda nine times, covering topics such as inner drive, team dynamics, leadership, influence, and performance under pressure. The participants celebrated their graduation on May 19, 2021.

“It is ideal that you work on location and that you study the program together with your colleagues,” said Roy van de Vijfeijken, physical trainer at NAC Breda and one of the participants on the Master in Coaching, “so that you can spar with them right away about the topics, and how this could be implemented within our youth academy.”

“You can spar right away about the topics, and how this could be implemented within our youth academy” – Roy van de Vijfeijken

Roy continues: “This way theory and practice are so close to each other, the content becomes even more valuable. You are provided with many tools, of which you can determine to which extent they apply to you as a youth trainer, and how you can apply them in your practice”.

Professionals jeugdopleiding NAC Breda rondden speciale editie Master in Coaching af - Johan Cruyff Institute

Participants Master in Coaching receive the diploma. Photo from left to right: Pleun van Ginneken, Rogier Molhoek, Jasper Somsen, Rens Philippa, Wilfred van der Linden, Michael Dingsdag, Luke Ogbolu and Roy van de Vijfeijken

As team leader of Johan Cruyff Institute Amsterdam, Sanne Kleijwegt has also noticed developments: “What I immediately noticed was that most of the coaches had been working together for many years. On the one hand, that is nice, because you saw that they were well attuned to each other and that this facilitated communication, but on the other hand, patterns had also emerged that may not always benefit team dynamics. Among other things, this has been worked on, in a very open atmosphere. I hope and expect that, thanks to the program, they can look at coaching differently—and at each other, the team dynamics and also themselves.”

Roy van de Vijfeijken - NAC Breda - Johan Cruyff InstituteROY VAN DE VIJFEIJKEN
Physical trainer

“On the program, you become aware that you cannot just assume that everyone thinks the same as you. You work in a team, where different values and norms apply, and everyone has his or her own tasks and responsibilities. By communicating and questioning openly, the right information emerges that can be used on an individual level, and as a team.”

“Through discussion and communication, you’ll reach general consensus, aiming at the same goals, but by respecting everyone’s unique way of doing things, and that applies towards colleagues as well as towards the players.”

“Because the program was suspended for six months due to COVID,” Sanne concludes, “it was extra nice that we could present these coaches with their diplomas. It is more than deserved and I wish all the coaches the best in their future careers!”


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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