Youth academy AZ chooses specially designed Master in Coaching

Today, the youth academy of AZ has started with a tailor-made Master in Coaching from Johan Cruyff Institute and in this way adopts a Cruyffian coaching approach

A group of 16 professionals from the youth academy of AZ has today started the tailor-made Master in Coaching offered by Johan Cruyff Institute. Among the participants are a number of youth trainers, including former professional football player Michel Vonk, a performance and athlete coach, head of the youth academy, Paul Brandenburg, and sport development director, Marijn Beuker.

The professors of the Master in Coaching, Henk Groener, Henk Verschuur, Seán Mallon, Karen Ephraim and Maarten van Heeswijk, will travel to Wijdewormer during the upcoming period to teach the group about the Cruyffian way of coaching. In total, there are 10 study days on the program which includes the subjects Inner Motivation, Team Dynamics, Leadership, Coaching & Perceiving and Performance Under Pressure. The participants will receive their certificate in April.

The program of the Master in Coaching is based on the vision of Johan Cruyff whereby “you can only coach others if you know how to coach yourself.” According to this vision, coaching is not merely about the development of tactical and technical skills, but is above all about knowing how to coach (and manage) yourself, individual players and staff members, the team as a whole and the social environment.


Head of the youth academy, Paul Brandenburg, took the initiative, together with Marijn Beuker, to implement this program in his youth academy. “We are happy and curious about the training program that we are starting with all our technical staff,” he says. “Through the Master in Coaching we hope to form an even better staff team and we want to further develop ourselves as coaches. All this with the ultimate goal of developing even better players and taking the next step toward realizing the ambitions of the club.”

“We are constantly looking for improvements within AZ,” continues the head of youth academy. “‘How do I get it done and what am I going to do to improve my performance tomorrow?’ are questions we ask ourselves every day. Among other things, I expect that we will be challenged by the professors within the different facets of coaching, but also that we will be confronted with our own behavior and what that behavior does to others.”

Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam has previously educated all the coaches and team managers of Ajax, Team Lotto-NL Jumbo (now Team Jumbo-Visma) and Team Giant-Alpecin (now Team Sunweb). Additionally, staff at the youth academy of professional football club NAC Breda are currently studying a customized version of the Master in Coaching.

AZ is a professional football club which was founded in 1954. The first team has been national champion twice, most recently in 2009 under the direction of Louis van Gaal, and has won the national cup four times and the Johan Cruyff Cup once. Well-known youth academy players who are now playing for AZ are Myron Boadu, Calvin Stengs, Owen Wijndal and captain Teun Koopmeiners. From 2007 to 2011, the club had a women’s team in which Daphne Koster, Stefanie van der Gragt and Desiree van Lunteren played.


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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