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  • Foto van schrijverNicholas Heiner

BLOG 4 (ENG): New coach and trainer, familiar faces, no surprises

Bijgewerkt op: 25 nov. 2020

Jaap Zielhuis is my new coach, my father is my new trainer. I have made some decisions in recent weeks and am glad that both were available to work with me. I already notice that the drive and energy in this new collaboration is electrifying. The intensity in what we do with this team is so much higher, really great!

But of course, it is sad, saying goodbye. In top sports, however, only one thing counts: the result. My coach Mark Andrews and I have not gotten the most out of each other in the last two and a half years. He felt the same way, so our last conversation was not very difficult either. Mark understood and took it professionally.

So now I have to work even more often with my father. He was already involved in my program on an ‘expert basis’, so it is not really surprising. Roy simply knows the most about sailing in the Finn as well as the equipment and the races. I can use that knowledge very well. My father also thinks out of the box, always looking for new possibilities, opportunities.

Roy is my trainer, Jaap Zielhuis is the coach. I've worked with Jaap before and actually always wanted him as a coach in the Finn. But he was head coach of the entire Dutch team, of Team NL Sailing. So that was not possible. Now we have made clear arrangements that he is there for me and that Jaap can leave some tasks for Team NL Sailing to others.

We met for hours. We made plans. In the past few weeks I have talked a lot, whilst I also sat in our climate chamber for another 11 days to see how my body copes with heat. You can imagine that is no fun and it takes a lot of energy, but fortunately it is very useful.

But I am therefore quite happy that I can sit comfortably in the boat for the coming period. It is here in Lanzarote, where we have our training camp, 25 degrees and full sun. We sail straight into the Atlantic Ocean, which is great of course. In any case, these are pleasant conditions to work in.

It's all for one purpose only: gold in nine months at the Tokyo Games. Nothing more, certainly nothing less. I share that conviction and passion with my father, apparently genetically determined. Jaap is calmer, he listens more. He will be crucial in the success, operating in between the two Heiners.

But there is also a risk, my father and I together. Fortunately, in recent years I have become mentally stronger, more mature. That is why this is possible. We need to build on the lead I have as number one in the world on the rest of the Finn field in the next nine months. I recently won the tournament in Kiel, which was nice because just before that event, things went not so good at the European Championship: fifth, that came just too early.

I will have to make progress in the coming months. Certainly, compared to the three other countries that can also win the gold, if they have a good week at the Games. I can be number 1, but if I don't go faster, the rest will come closer.

To avoid that, a tough decision was needed.


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