Wywiad z Roelofem Koopmansem (English only)

Roelof Koopmans na ME 2016
Korfball Factory: Throught out many years you were coach of DOS (club in the Netherlands). From the end of 2015 you become a Polish national coach. Why have you decided to share your vast knowledge, experience and how have it happened?

Jan Sjouke v.d. Bosch asked me to become coach of the Polish national team. He told me about the The World Games in Wroclaw. Before 2000 I promoted korfball in Poland so I already had some experience in Poland. That made me decide to say yes.

Most of the coaches have their own career being a player in previous years. Can you tell us about yours?
When I was 5 years old I started playing in Jubbega (Wordt Kwiek), my hometown,  till I was 21. I was a beautiful time. In the under 19 we were two times champion of the Netherlands and I played in the the national team under 19. At the age of 21 I moved to Groningen and started playing for Nic. I played there in the first, second and third team. Then I moved to Havelte, because of my job as a teacher, and I started playing korfball in Hoogeveen (Thrianta) on a lower level. But in 3 years time we became 5 times champion (in- and outdoor). We were almost on the highest l
evel in The Netherlands and then I injured my knee very bad.  I tried to make a comeback, but again an injury of my knee. When I was 27 I started as coach in Assen (Asko, now known as AVO). After 2 years I became assistant-coach of Nic in Groningen. In this two years we became two times champion of the Netherlands for second teams. The next 7 years I became trainer/coach of the under 19 team from the district North. Two times we played as a national team with North in the World Championship U-19 and won to times in the final against Belgium. Because of my study math I stopped being a coach after 7 years. I then only trained the youth in Havelte (the place I live) In 2014 Dos’46 asked me to become trainer/coach of the second team. It was a successful period (two times champion). And than Jan Sjouke asked me to become coach of the Polish National team.

Can you share with us your most valuable success?

In 1989 there was the first Dutch championship for schools. My little sister played in this team and we won every game and became with a very small school champion of the Netherlands.

What do you appreciate the most in players and what do you condemn?
What I appreciate the most is honesty and trust. I would like that players come to me when they have a problem and not talk about it in the dressing room or whatsapp or messenger. The most important thing is to talk.

You have been training people for many years on different levels. Is it easier to develop/teach/coach players as Polish national representants or Duch high level korfballers?
It’s difficult to develop players in Poland because they train not enough. In Holland we are playing korfball minimal 3 times a week. Lack of basic skills are sometimes a problem too, because it is difficult to change this skills at a later age. And the language can be a problem too. Sometimes players say yes, but I don’t know if they really understand everything. To change players is difficult, because you have to change yourself and not because a trainer/coach demands it.

If you would have to choose: would you bet on having great offensive or better defence? What it depends on?
If you look at the statics from the EKC in Dordrecht you see that we shoot only 50/60 times in a game. That’s by far not enough. We have a lot of one shot attacks and maybe sometimes it’s better to play old fashioned, static korfball with a ‘tolletje’*. If we can shoot more times in every attack, the opponent can shoot less, simple. But on the other side I want to develop every player in every function. We can also win a lot in defence. A lot of players are only looking at their opponent. They have to learn to look at their opponent and the ball. So there is a lot to win on both sides.

As we know there are many factors that make up spotrive profile. Which of this examples are significant and in which order? [speed, technique, condition, smartness, being tall, resistance to stress, always head up, ambitions, ability to focus] Is here missing something what would you like to add?
Most important is that in Poland there are not enough players. Just 5 teams in the league makes 50 players. In the national team I work with 20 players. So when you play korfball in Poland you have a change of almost 50% to play in the national team. There has to come a new plan for the future. If not there will be no korfball anymore in Poland in the future. My plan is to invite everyone who is involved with Polish korfbal to come Konstancin in march for a kind of conference. I hope we can make new plans there and most important thing I will tell the people there: Work together, help and trust each other.

Sometimes team is slightly losing a game and blaming referee for bad decisions. Do you think it is explainable behaviour and the team is justified?

Have you had such controversial case in your career?
Sometimes a referee makes bad decisions, but if you look at our videos of the EKC you can see we make more bad decisions than the referee does. Off course sometimes I am also disappointed in a decision of a referee, but I doesn’t help you to come further. Just look at your own performance, that’s the only thing you can change.

When there is possibility Koopmans family is supporting you and the Polish team - for which we thank so much. Do you want your two daughters and son to follow your steps and be top players in the Netherlands at first and then becoming coaches?
My wife and children know that I like to go to Poland and the support me a lot. If there is a chance to support me and the Polish team they will be there. In july we will come to Wroclaw with the complete family to support the national team at The Word Games. Nieske (17) and Gijs (14) are playing in Dos’46 and Fenne (11) is playing in our little village Havelte in UDI. They enjoy playing korfball and we will see what future will bring them.

As we know, you are very experienced person have you had some important lesson in life which conclusions would you share with us?

Work hard, be honest and enjoy our biggest hobby, korfball.
And also important, if you play in the national team in Poland you have to do something for Polish korfbal. Be a trainer, be a coach, be a referee, be a… As a player in the national team you get a lot. Every month in a good hotel, every year a big event like the EKC of WC. This year probably a one time in your life experience, The World Games. So players of the Polish team: ‘What are you going to do tomorrow for Polish korfball?

Thank you for sharing your point of view on crucial cases in Polish korfball and I truly believe your impact will result.
Interview by Tamara Siemieniuk

*tolletje - man come to assist → woman is coming to take the assist → man is taking rebound on the block of woman

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