Coach Joep Janssen (30) shows at RTC Brabant Atletiek that cluster talent works. Nevertheless, the money tap was closed, and the organization in Vught must now manage it all by itself.
Dutch athletics is doing very well, with a national top that is better and more diverse than ever. However, it is not so easy to get hold of the successes, note Joep Janssen and Valentine Kortbeek from RTC Brabant Atletiek, the regional training center in Vught. They are trying to narrow the gap between the national training center Papendal and the athletics associations from which the next teams will come.
“Athletics culture is about organizing and organizing yourself,” says coordinator Valentine Kortbeek (35), descendant of a Vught athletics family. Since this year, the RTC no longer receives financial support from the sports umbrella organization NOC*NSF and the Athletics Federation or practical help from the TeamNL center in BrabantSport.
Within an association, the better athletes are often alone or in pairs, they rarely find others with the same level of ambition.
In Vught, people continue to develop the sport relentlessly. Kortbeek: ,,We would like to bring out more talents. Within an association, the better athletes are often alone or in pairs, they rarely find others with the same level of ambition. At an RTC you have them together and eventually we hope our athletes will compete nationally or even internationally.”
Facilitate with a full-time program
RTC Brabant Atletiek facilitates eighteen athletes through a full-time program. Joep Janssen (30) succeeded Robbert-Jan Jansen as paid head coach at Vught and has already achieved success with, among others, Pim van Bakel (400 metres), Maureen Herremans (long and triple jump), Tanita Hofmans (high jump), Lianne van Krieken ( sprint and long jump), Jakob Pütz (pole vault) and Kimberly Alkemade (para sprinter).
There is a common thread in the program, although everyone has their own needs
“I am lucky that they – like the rest of the athletes in the group – want to work hard for it, put in time and passion. It’s not their enthusiasm,” says Janssen, who matches athletes who train explosive parts in his training group. “There is a common thread in the program, even though everyone has their own needs. They always get input from me in their own process. I ask: what do you feel you need? So we arrive at a happy medium with what I think is necessary.”
You see a lack of volunteers. It’s a shame we’re letting talent go to waste
Janssen and Kortbeek’s wish is that the lines become shorter, not only between the athletics associations but also with other sports clubs. “We can help athletes here who are stuck in their own club,” Janssen said. “I think there is still room for improvement in the range of associations. You see a lack of volunteers. It is a shame that we are losing talent because of this.” Athletics clubs often have volunteers for the training groups. “We also want to train trainers, to be able to visit us to give clinics and thus strengthen the associations.”
Pitchers and runners
RTC Brabant Atletiek was in discussion with the recently deceased André Aarts of RTC Central and West Brabant about plans to pick up the caste numbers. Runners can go to Running Team Brabant, the professional running group of Tonnie Dirks and Jos van Schijndel, which, although not covered by the RTC, is also based in Vught.
RTC Brabant Atletiek also runs a part-time program to allow young people to participate. Kortbeek: “We therefore ask the coaches of these children to come and watch the training sessions and learn from them.”
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