Busy weeks …… again!

The frequency of posts for this blog has been lower for one simple reason: I am swamped with interesting projects as you might have guessed. What is keeping me busy? Amongst others my daily work at daytime but in the evening working on two interesting presentations in the US.

The first one April 26/27 for the Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar in Richmond. When you want to make an interesting  presentation it takes some time to adjust to the level to the audience, time to find the balance between theory and practical information and to find interesting material to enhance your messages and put all this together. My topic will be: “Mental aspects of physical performance”  the role of the brain in elite sports and I am proud to be part of a group of accomplished sports scientists and speakers there. More information about this interesting seminar:  www.CVASPS.com

The second seminar is for the Nike SPARQ Expertise Group May 30 and 31 at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, together with one of the world leading experts in strength training Dr. Robert Newton, so definitely another challenge. On the topic Output my presentation will be called: “Helping the best to get better”, an integrated Odessey into elite sports performance. More information at:  www.sparqtraining.com

During the same period, finishing lecturing on strength training last week, and having an, as always, interesting meeting with one of the few brilliant minds in team sports performance analysis Dr. Fergus Connolly, during a short stopover in Amsterdam. His thirst for knowledge and encyclopaedia-like output are hard to surpass. Always inspirational for me to talk to younger guys taking over the baton in the field of elite sports performances.

Again: an interesting evening at Schiphol airport, close to Amsterdam, where the BBE-MARSOF Special Forces Unit practiced the freeing of hostages from a hijacked airplane. The “hostages’, played by KLM personnel, had to be rescued from a group of hijackers under several different circumstances. No easy task I can tell you, the slightest mistake can lead to huge problems and if you don’t believe that, take a look at the YouTube video about the hijack of an Air France airplane in Marseilles in 1994.


 Here you see that in a hijack situation like this, the cockpit might not be a healthy place to stay, but in between the exercises I found some time to visit the cockpit and talk to the captain and ask my silly questions.

In the cockpit while the SF unit is preparing another rescue
In the cockpit while the SF unit is preparing another rescue

There are very few countries in which an airplane hostage rescue situation can be practiced adequately, e.g. no real explosions and weapons can be used, the plane can only be used a couple of hours since it is a regular airliner that will be flying passengers again a few hours after the exercise. It is like playing shadow boxing or preparing the US Open in tennis on X-box Kinetics.

Yes , there are some places where realistic and thus adequate training for situations like these is possible. One of these is the KASOTC in Amman, Jordan, where two weeks ago, as I mentioned in one of my posts before, the Annual Warrior Competition was staged.

As a coach you can’t stop from admiring and envying a set-up like that. A fantastic place to train and prepare for the job that might be waiting for you if you are a Special Forces Operator. The team I advised came back, ranked 10 out of 33, which is a great performance, considering their improvised training and preparation, since for many of the tasks they could not prepare in Holland due to lack of adequate facilities and it was their first time to participate, missing the valuable experience in a facilty like this.