Hockey, just for fun, with each other: this is how it should be from now on

The face of Frederic Matla (25) radiates courage as she makes her first speech as captain of the Dutch hockey team at Wagner Stadium on Saturday. “Enjoy together and play with passion and promote it. Engage each other and talk to each other ”, she repeats the words she said before the duel with us.

Read also: “Because of a sick culture, there was no concern for the mental health of Dutch hockey players”

It sounds like a burning desire, a few days after the research was published into the corrupt performance culture among hockey players. It’s as if Matla is trying to convince herself again, after years of taboo and fear within the choice. Hockey, just for fun, with each other: this is how it should be from now on.

Matla himself is setting a good example at the Wagner Stadium. Driven by hundreds of screaming boys and girls in the stands, she allows herself some absurdity. With her brilliant solo brilliance between two Americans, Fiona Morgenstern gave a goal. The graceful Matla can do more than just stand in place and score (65 goals in 92 internationals), as she claims that role in the new Dutch side.

After a dominant era under national coach Alison Annan, who was sacked in January, the internationals now have to see what can stick them in the selection. Last week, the team, led by interim German coach Jamelon Mulders (45) until next summer’s World Cup, took an important step by discussing research into performance culture.

For the heroes themselves, this is no longer shocking. The investigation was conducted publicly. Concrete examples have been omitted. Only for ourselves there is an extra emotional charge ”, analyzes Matla, who confirms that the team has come a long way. “People have been hurt. Trust damaged. You have to build it. take time. We review everything. What did we miss as a team and as players? What did the Hockey League miss? How can we build a healthy future, focusing on a balance between pleasure, well-being and performance? “

There are plenty of group conversations, but one-on-one conversations should boost confidence in the future, notes veteran Lidewij Welten (31). “Hey, what do you do outside of hockey? Or: I loved the way you trained me on the field. That kind of thing. You can’t have group conversations all the time,” says Welton, who finds the report “helpful.”

Watching the heroes play hockey

For the world of sports, the report on the culture of satisfactory performance, in which research agency Fijbes Consultancy interviewed 47 people, was news. Many fans do not like to search, they want to see their heroes play hockey. One family, who does not want to mention their last name, came to drive from Groningen this weekend.

The family, who was dressed in orange and had red, white, and blue flags on their cheeks, had to admit that the investigation was not much of a topic of conversation. The 11-year-old daughter was not surprised that things went wrong with the hockey players. “The discussion about unhealthy culture starts with us at the club. Parents find it strange that selection takes place at the age of nine. We talk about it often, but then parents say it is worse in football.”

Her mother wonders how long hockey players have suffered from the diseased culture. There may have been signs already. How many people don’t work for a company that has an unhealthy power culture? I wonder if the culture will improve in the future.”

It’s also a crucial question for the club’s executives. Big clubs such as Den Bosch, Amsterdam and SCHC were aiming for an independent investigation. They saw their international players return after last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, whether they were suffering from stress or injury.

And now that the federation has shared parts of the report with the public, major clubs are criticizing the official format and recommendations, most of which they say were revised years ago. They realize that for privacy reasons, certain details were not mentioned, but they believe that KNHB should have shared more.

“You can’t do much with this summary, which seems useful to KNHB. The union has now identified how important certain topics are,” says Willem Butt, SCHC Director. “Nowhere is it stated what they will do. There is no vision and they do not accept the consequences of their actions.”

Chairman Mark Stahl of Amsterdam is also not completely satisfied. “There are a lot of killers in it. It has become an anonymous story where emotion and context are lost,” concludes Stahl, who desires peace of mind for his aliens, with a busy schedule ahead. “I would expect another hit by the hockey league. As a reader, we don’t get a complete picture.”

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