Feijenoord’s hockey club inspires Czech visitors as part of EHF/KNHB twinning

Posted On 21/03/2023

Did you know that Feijenoord is not only a football club but also a very special hockey club in the Netherlands?

In co-operation with the EHF and the Dutch Hockey Federation (KNHB), the Czech Hockey Federation has join a twinning programme with the aim to link a European federation with a Dutch club.

HC Feijenoord is a small but progressive club which is focused on social inclusion and offering hockey to socially disadvantaged people in Rotterdam, regardless of their background.

David Bohac, Marek Fikrle and Vojtech Felt from Prague’s TJ Sokol Kbely took up the offer and went for a two-day trip to meet up with Feijenoord’s Paul Veldhuijzen and his team to get inspired.

The main objective of the visit was a set of meetings focused on:

1. What are the best practices to run a club?

2. How to work with staff (i.e. coaches, referees), volunteers and other people who want to help?

3. How to ensure economic stability of the club?

“These themes were identified prior to the visit and expanded upon during the discussions,” the Czech contingent explained. “The Feijenoord club members were very open and gave us a lot of advice that came from their experiences.

“The hardest, but most necessary (and ultimately the most valuable) for us was to change our mindset. We still have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of work to do, but the partner club has really helped us find a path to take.

“The above already completely fulfils the main objectives of this pleasant meeting.

“Moreover, we had the opportunity to see in practice how to work with socially disadvantaged groups of children. The simplicity but, at the same time, the effectiveness was amazing.

“The ‘hockey lesson for street children’ which was held in a neighbourhood playground interested us so much that we spontaneously joined in.

“All this left a deep impression on us.”

The second day was held at Hockeyclub ‘s-Hertogenbosch where they met with Dilja Holewijn and Gino Schilders where they saw the club’s Under-18 girls team play.

“Afterwards we had the amazing opportunity to discuss with Dilja about her daily work with the coaches in her role overseeing the youth categories.

“She gave us an insight into how they motivate them and prepare the right conditions for them to work in, as well as the basics of the training progress-check system and their development programme based on values.

“Even though Den Bosch is a top club, the system of how to work with the kids and how to motivate them is still very simple and a few ‘local’ changes can be applied in our conditions.

“It was another amazing and informative day that brought us a lot of inspiration for our work.

“If we had to say only three words to describe the results of the visit, they would be: inspiring, open, learnfull.

“Big thanks to the HC Feijenoord, the EHF and the KNHB for making this possible and we plan to stay in contact with Paul and his team to look at future opportunities to work together.”

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