Wierd just finished a training session with the National Team U18 5x5 and tells me that he made his final selection for the EK 5x5 in Tallinn Estland. He is pleased with his selection and the fact that all the players of the 3x3 team were also selected for the 5x5.
This brings me immediately to my first question. What is your opinion on 3x3?
‘For me, it is all basketball. Of course, the game you play at 3x3 is completely different in comparison to 5x5. When they asked me to coach the 3x3 WK, I prepared myself for this game. I watched a lot of games on Youtube, read what I could find, and I made an analysis. Then I determined my strategy and playing style. I am fortunate to have a great coaching staff with the U18. Besides Hein Tiemstra I also work with Frank Vermeulen and André Bout. This coaching staff is big enough to train the 5x5 team and go to tournaments with the 3x3. It went well the last few weeks, and I am looking forward to this summer to work with the boys and play the EK.’
But how was China?? Wierd starts to laugh.
‘You need setbacks to get stronger.'
‘Before we travelled to China, we played a tournament in Hungary. The plane left on time, the transfer to the hotel was pleasant, and we played well. This is not good guys! This is going too smooth; This is not making us better and stronger. What happens if things don’t go the way you you want them to? Are you still that strong guy??’
Wierd then starts telling all about the harsh journey to China. Indeed a tough trip. They checked in at 6 PM and found out that the flight was cancelled at 2.30 AM. The next day it turned out that the flight was overbooked and not everybody could get on board. One player of the MU and one player of VU had to go one flight later.
‘Anyway, that's the setback, you think. Well, it turned out that there were more to come. We had a transfer in China and the time for the transfer was quite close. So the moment we landed, we had to rush to the other plane. Revelinio suddenly started to run, and soon all of us were following him. It was hilarious, all those tall Dutch people running in the small Chinese crowd.
Anyway, all the running was no use because this flight had a delay of several hours’.
Finally, we arrived in Chengdu, and the venue was good. But did you notice that we have not played in orange outfits? Luggage arrived too late or not at all… Of course, all players travel with one outfit and one pair of shoes, for just in case… So after a day we bought some outfits, socks and clean underwear and played in blue. All teams were happy to change in other color outfits if that was necessary. Only Portugal couldn't reverse their shirts, so we both played in blue’.
Wierd is very proud! Calvin Poulina, Boyd vd Vuurst de Vries, Revelinio Thollel and Maik Bouwer did a great job. Especially the first game. Maik was not feeling well, and he started as the 4th player. But he stayed in the chair the whole game, because he felt too weak. ‘So we started out great, but at a certain point, the other ones got tired. Eventually we won the game and all the others on our way to the finals. Not one game was easy, but the players showed a strong mentality. So yes, we were very disappointed losing the finals. The players grew in the tournament, and that is the biggest achievement’. And Wierd, how about not coaching next to the court? Seems pretty tough because you are so used to it.
‘That’s right, and indeed it is entirely different. But I have a loud voice, and I was therefore very present from the side’.
Time is up. Time for Wierd to go the Museumplein where his team is being honoured for their silver medal together with the golden wheelchair players.
Thanks Wierd for sharing your story and keep in mind: ‘You need setbacks to get stronger.'