During my high school I started swimming professionally and I have been doing that until the end of 2016. Every top athlete is choosing his or her own path, and I chose not to do a study during my career as swimmer. Since I retired from swimming, it was time to challenge myself in a new way, at the Johan Cruyff Institute.
A little more than a year ago, I was approached by the Johan Cruyff Institute and was invited to spend this year doing a Master in Sports Management at their faculty. I was selected for a Telesport scholarship and the rest is history. Yesterday I did my final presentation for the panel and finished my Masters with a great grade.
During the whole academic year I was challenged, but in a different way than I am used to. When performing in a sports on high level, you get challenged every day. How to handle feedback (or sometimes, criticism), how to build a team, how to cope with teammates or hard training. How to handle setbacks, failures, but also victories.
In a certain way, competing in elite sports is easy. You know what is expected from you and you know what you have to do. You see clearly what sacrifices you have to make, and you make them anyway because of the bigger picture. Your teammates are always on the same level, and you are constantly pushing each other.
At the Johan Cruyff Institute, challenges come from other directions. Often unnoticed and almost always when you don’t expect them. I learned to look at events, organisations and team members in a new way. I have listened to lectures, had to present things I knew nothing about unprepared and was challenged by professors.
“Even though Johan is not with us anymore, his legacy lives on in all aspects of this education.”
Being at the Institute, you learn to look at sport in a different way. The side of the athlete is something I have seen for two decades, not the managerial and organisational side of sports. I learned to make strategical assessments and analyses on everything that breaths sports.
The biggest task however, was our Master Final Plan. With my friends and team members Germain Henriquez (who founded an awesome Foundation called “Every Child a Ball“), strategist Mathijs Rooling and Paralympic medal winner Maikel Scheffers we took on an assignment from the Johan Cruyff Foundation. A big honour and of course something to take on head first.
With the finished plan that was graded 9, great reviews of our presentation and all the knowledge I gained during the past year, I am looking forward to the next one. Can’t wait what happens and how I will put my newly gained insights into my work at Personal Swimming and Swimclinics.