The 2017/2018 season of the Women’s Basketball League is going to start in a few short weeks. Time to introduce another player to the public. Janiek van Veen has played for Den Helder (almost) her whole life, and she is ready for the next season. Now, just before the preparations for the new season begin, she is on her way to Rome with the Dutch National Team to play three exhibition games, twice against the University of Connecticut and once against Duke University
What is the difference between the basketball program of the CTO and the basketball program in Den Helder?
The first difference is the amount of hours of practice per week. Players with the CTO train for at least twenty hours per week, where players with Den Helder practice four times a week, which is about eight hours per week. In addition to this, my team at CTO was a close team, and we always practiced together. We had specialized practices, but the group was always together: in the morning for weight training, in the afternoon for a team practice and in the evening for dinner, which is included in the program.
This is different than with Den Helder, because there, you practice with your team within the bounds of the club. With my teams in the youth of Den Helder, we had three team practices per week and one night where we had a specialized practice with different players from different teams. I made the choice to go to the CTO, because I got selected for the Dutch National Team, but I noticed that I was not good enough to get minutes in a game. I needed more hours of training to be able to improve myself, and this was possible with the CTO. Besides this, the CTO arranges everything for you (from medical support to practices to nutrition and overall more guidance).
You went back to Den Helder after two years. Why?
I have always had Den Helder in my heart and that is still the same (you can guess three times who I have inherited this from!). I have never really thought about going to another club.
Has your team started the preparation for next season and what have you done so far?
We will start our preparation for next season on Saturday the 19th of August. We will start with getting condition again. The weekend after that, we will start with a game every week, including an American College team.
What are your expectations for next season?
I expect a positive, motivated and hardworking environment, where we want to make each other better, as a person and as a team. And of course, every Friday the whole team will eat Meindert’s pancakes! For the competition, a lot of teams have strengthened themselves with foreign players and all teams did already have a lot of good players. I expect it will be a very interesting competition.
How do you prepare for a game? Do you have any rituals?
I always try to make sure that I do not eat too much before a game, because it is terrible to have to play with a full stomach. I like to play music before a game and besides that, I want to be on the court to shoot before we have to be in the locker room.
What is the best court to play on?
I think the home court will always be the best court. We practice on this court; therefore, we are used to it. In Den Helder, there is a wooden floor, which is better for your physical well being. I liked the court in Bemmel the least. It is not pleasant for your body, it is slippery and the floor has dead spots.
What is your best basketball memory?
I was Dutch Champion twice, one time with the u14 and once with the u18. For me, becoming champion after an exciting finale or tournament is the best feeling. Besides this, my highlight moment is getting a bronze medal in the A-division u20 on the European Championship in 2015!
Would you want to play abroad?
First, I want to finish my degree. At the moment, I am studying at the iPabo in Amsterdam to become a teacher at primary school. Next year is my last year and I hope to graduate in June. Maybe I will go and play abroad after this. At the moment my goal for my career is to become a determining and important player for the National team. Besides that, I would like to be at a European Championship with the National team.
Have you ever experienced it as difficult that your father is a coach and that your mother played basketball at a high level (in the Dutch Women’s Basketball League) as well?
No, this did not bother me at all. I really liked it! I have inherited my ambition for basketball and my love for Den Helder from them, and I have learned a lot from my parents. They support everything I do, give me tips and they always come to my games! The best tip they ever gave me was “ enjoy and take every chance you get”.
Meindert van Veen is …
Besides to being my father, he is one of the most important coaches for the Dutch women basketball. As a coach and a trainer, he is someone who wants the best for his players, is very tactical and wants to make his players and the team better. He is very ambitious and is always busy with basketball. For this reason, he asks a lot of his players. Even at home, there is hardly any time that he is not busy with basketball: he is always watching games, preparing practices, analyzing teams and so on. It might seem different from the stands, but Meindert is always positive and he thinks in solutions. He always says to me: “whining will not solve your problems!”
You are going to Rome with the National team to play against two college teams, the University of Connecticut and Duke University. What do you expect, and what are your goals for these games?
I expect to see improvement relative to the games we played at our last tournament in the Netherlands against Senegal and Germany. We trained a lot and practiced our shots, so we should be able to shoot better and play better offenses than last week. The goal is to play good, strong defense and play with a lot of energy. In addition to this, it will be a great experience: to play in Rome against such well known and good teams.