New support!

(1 mei 2015)

I am happy to announce that from May 1 FN-Trendy will support me in my sports career. FN Trendy is a young and trendy company offering a variety of exclusive fashion brands for both adults and kids. The collection of clothes available is designed and developed by young talented designers from Asia.

Founder Frans Schouten is a big fan of fashion and Asia and he loves the Badminton sport. As I am visiting Asia frequently to play tournaments and have been a passionate badminton player for more than 20 years we found each other quite easily. I will commit myself for the full 100% to promote FN Trendy. I am looking forward to a nice cooperation.

Shirts printed for the Asia/Australia tour

Shirts printed for the Asia/Australia tour

Looking back on German, All England and Swiss Open

(17 maart 2015)

A series of 3 consecutive tournaments has come to an end and with varying results. I am not satisfied and in the period to come we’ll have to perform better.

The German Open in my “home port” Mülheim was, much to my regret, a short tournament. We played a short match against a Danish pair. It was a close match but at decisive moments we failed to score. It was unfortunate, no result but afterwards we had an extensive and analyzing discussion which was a firm basis for the next 2 events and that obviously was worth a lot.

The next event was last weeks Yonex All England in Birmingham. The oldest badminton tournament in the world, the Wimbledon of the Badminton Sport. I get there quite a number of years now and every year again it’s a privilege to be there and compete. The organization, the entourage, the lively business center around the arena and the superbly renovated Barclaycard Arena itself make it very special.
In the first round we met an American pair which is in the top 30 and plays many tournaments in both North and South America. A straight 2 game victory put us in the second round where we were confronted with the Danes Fischer and Pedersen. We played them twice before, a few weeks ago at the European Championships for teams and last year in April at the individual European Championships. On both occasions we lost and also this time we couldn’t win. Still we are getting closer and from a tactical point of view we could learn a lot from this match because in spite of their second place on the world ranking also the Danes have some weak spots. Especially in the second game we managed to win a number of good rallies.

Finally the Swiss Open in Basel. A Grand Prix Gold tournament just like the German Open. In the first round we met the German pair Schwenger and Nelte who were seeded eighth in this tournament. We have played them twice before and the head to head score is 1-1. We make a bad start in the first game, very little rhythm in the short rallies but a good fighting spirit. Still we lose the first game. With a small tactical adjustment and our fighting spirit we manage to control the game better and win it. The third game is exciting and we stay close together till 15-15. And here the match really begins. A few well played rallies, a bit of luck on our side and we score a series of consecutive points which bring us the win. A nice, hard-fought victory with a good fighting spirit.

In the second round we were facing a French pair. A similar scenario as the day before. A bad start and a loss in the first game, a win in the second game and better playing. At the interval in the third game we have a lead and from that moment on things start to go wrong. We lose control and we give away the 3 points lead. Our opponents seem to get “wings”. They control the last rallies of the match while we are too passive. We lose and we are very disappointed, which is an understatement. This really was an unnecessary loss and that shouldn’t happen. From the bottom of my heart I state that we shall do everything possible to make that this won’t happen again.

Last Saturday I gave a clinic together with Gayle Mahulette to a group of very enthousiastic youngsters. It was a great session and the kids loved it. If you are interested in having a badmintonclinic aswell? Just go to the page ‘’clinic’’ on my website and get in touch

An awkward start of the New Year

(19 januari 2015)

2015 is on it’s way for a while and I would have liked to start the new year in a positive way, but unfortunately that’s not the case!

Late November, I was struck down by a viral infection that I probably had brought back from Asia. Eight days of high fever and pneumonia on top of that made that I was housebound for almost 3 weeks and consequently that I had to skip the Italian Open as well as four matches in the Bundesliga.

When, after a 10 day course of antibiotics, the pneumonia was cured my sports doctor allowed me to start building up my condition again but very carefully and quietly. Carefully and quietly I thought. I’m cured am I not? Well, I soon found out that I underestimated this building up. As a consequence of my illness my condition had completely deteriorated. After every exercise my heart beat was much too high and it remained high instead of slowing down again. Because of that my body couldn’t recover enough. Even after the resumption of training in the new year I still could not perform at a good level nor could I do real workouts. The only positive thing was that I could attend the training sessions again.

For the first tournament of the year, the Swedish Masters in Uppsala, the flight and hotel had been already booked and paid for so I decided to participate. Another reason was that it also was a good test to find out where I exactly was in terms of fitness. Now I’m back home and I can be brief: it was confronting and frustrating to find out that I was falling short in almost all aspects of the game. In itself this is not really surprising. Usually my strength is the hard work I deliver and I haven’t been able to work hard for too long a period of time. The result is that the conditional as well as the performance level decreases rapidly. Partly as a result of all this our Danish opponents in the quarter finals of the Swedish Masters were too strong for us; 21-19 and 21-17.

Still, I’m glad that I played, because it has given me the insight that currently I am physically not able to play a tournament. In the coming weeks my focus will be on regaining match fitness again, because there is an important period coming up including the European Championship for national teams in Leuven and three consecutive tournaments in Germany, England and Switzerland. From now on I will focus on these events where I must and shall be fully recovered from this incredibly annoying pneumonia that has wrecked my body and of which I experience the consequences every day.

Looking back on 2014

(29 december 2014)

2014 is almost history! For me personally it was a great year with many beautiful moments. I will give a short review.

The start of 2014 was already promising. On January 2nd we were informed that we would get a new full time trainer/coach: Kim Nielsen, who was a coach of the Danish National team for quite some time. He would start on April 1 and really settle himself in Arnhem. Apart from that the first two months of the year were mainly dedicated to the German Premier League as Samantha’s foot injury kept us from playing international tournaments. In the League Mülheim is performing very well and we have a lead of a few points.

By the end of February Samantha and I are finally ready for our comeback in the international circuit.
In my “home port” Mülheim we play the Yonex German Open. We have low expectations but we are more than happy to be on court again. We make a good win in the first round but in the second round we are just a little bit short to stunt against a top 20 pair from Hong Kong. Nevertheless it’s a promising kick off.

From mid March till mid April we practise very hard. We prepare ourselves for the European Championships in Kazan, Russia and I am fit. A European medal is one of my goals for this year but given the backlog that we have accumulated it’s not very realistic. Once in Kazan we win the first two rounds and we are in the quarter finals. There we will meet the number one Russian pair Durkin and Vislova. All of a sudden we are only one match away from a medal. This Friday, April 25, I can call the most special day from my badminton career so far.
Our match is scheduled in the early evening and the day seems to be endless. A few hours before the match I am ever so nervous. Once in the arena the nerves make way to an adrenaline rush I have never experienced before. We enter the court, we win the first game and lose the second. In the third game it’s all or nothing. We get excellent feedback and instructions from our coaches Kim and Rune. Towards the end of the game we manage to take a small lead of 2,3 points. I still remember the match point. The four of us exchange glances, we are determined to make this point! Then we play a long rally with a final winner at the net! The entire stadium is silent, but I scream, run around and jump. I am beside myself of excitement. We hug each other, the coaches and our masseur Gerrit. We have just won the first mixed doubles medal for The Netherlands in 12 years. I am overjoyed!

XD all medallists

The next day, in the semifinals, the Danish top favorites Fischer and Pedersen are our opponents. We don’t stand a chance and we lose in two games. The day after is the medal ceremony and Samantha and I stand between the other 3 pairs, all Danish, with a medal around our neck. We are proud to be on that stage after such a difficult period. Those 7 minutes of the ceremony made me forget all disappointments and earlier losses. They were more than worth it. I enjoy every second of the ceremony: you may watch yourself

On May 11th I play together with my teammates of 1.BV Mülheim the final of the German Premier League. We meet Lüdinghausen in their sportshall. For all the badminton lovers it’s a great afternoon with beautiful and exciting matches. Marcus Ellis and I open the score with a win but unfortunately we lose the ladies doubles, both men’s singles and the ladies single. This leaves us with the runner up position and we are really disappointed. Still we are proud of this result and of the great season. Last year we ended third, this year 2nd so hopefully next year…………….

At the start of the summer period we play the Grand Prix (Gold) tournaments of Canada and the USA. In Vancouver we reach the final. We meet the German pair Schwenger and Nelte at the same time the Dutch National Soccer team plays Costa Rica in the quarter final of the World Championships Football in Salvador, Brasil. They win but we lose in two games. Quite disappointing.

Back in Holland we start to prepare for the World Championships in Copenhagen. 6 weeks of hard and intensive training at a very hot and sweltering training centre Papendal.
The MH 17 disaster on July 17 touches me deeply. So many innocent victims. It also makes me realize myself how often I have flown this route myself. It makes me even more aware again of the fact that I have to be grateful for every day I am allowed to do what I like most: playing badminton.

The World Championships tournament in Copenhagen is a special event. Samantha and I make a good win in the first round but in the second we lose against a Chinese pair. I stay in Copenhagen and my girlfriend joins me and we watch the semi finals and the finals together. We enjoy every minute! On Sunday we witness the spectacular win of Carolina Marin. A Spanish world champion! I believe this is the ultimate proof of what you can achieve with hard work and the right attitude.

The period October through November is very busy. We have 6 tournaments ahead of us and after every 2 events a week of intensive training is scheduled. At the Yonex Dutch Open we perform at our absolute top level. This tournament is used to test the new scoring system 5 games to 11. After 4 good wins we are facing the Indonesian pair Widianto and Dili in the final. We take a 2 games to 1 lead and in the 4th game we make a good start but the Indonesians still manage to win it. In the fifth and final game we don’t stand a chance anymore and we fail to win the tournament. Of course we are very disappointed about this result but at the same time we are more than proud of the performance we showed.

Pure emotie

For the Asian Super Series in China and Hong Kong we drew the same opponents in both tournaments….Widianto and Dili. In the meantime this pair has come to the 11th place on the world ranking. In the gigantic arena of Fuzhou we play a very good match with many long rallies. In 2 games we take revenge for the loss at the Dutch Open. In the second round we had to acknowledge the former world champions the Indonesians Ahmad and Natsir as our superiors.
Exactly one week later, in Hong Kong, we were again facing Widianto and Dili. This time we fail to get grip on the match and we lose in 2 games. In the mean time we did manage to reach the top 25 of the world ranking again, which was one of the other goals this year.

Now at the end of December I look back with pride and pleasure at a year which has brought me a lot of wonderful things. An European Championships medal, finals at Grand Prix tournaments, winning from a pair which is in the top 10 now, number 23 on the world ranking and the final of the German Premier League. But above all I retrieved my playing pleasure which I had lost at the end of 2013.

2015 is almost here, an important year with again many new and nice challenges. Supported by my family, my girlfriend and my sponsors I am more than ready to battle again!

I wish you all a successful, sportive but above all healthy 2015!

bronze medal

Proud European Championship medal winner

News from Fuzhou

(14 november 2014)

Friday, November 7, Samantha and I left for Asia to play the Thaihot China Open in Fuzhou, China and the Yonex Sunrise Hong Kong Open in Hong Kong. Both events are Super Series tournaments.

Although now and then troubled by some heavy turbulence we had a smooth journey and we arrived at our destination Saturday morning at 10:15 am (03:15 am CET). Fuzhou is a “relatively small” Chinese city with only 6 million inhabitants. I deliberately say small, because that’s what it seems to be to Chinese concepts. To me it is a real big city with gigantic buildings, many hotels and a lot of traffic, very very heavy traffic. I am glad we have traffic rules and regulations at home because here they play a kind of Tetris but then in a car, bus or tuk-tuk. They find the smallest holes to crawl through. Each ride to and from the arena is a hell of a job for the driver. But yes, he is accustomed to drive here and manoeuvre through so many vehicles. Fortunately it always goes well.

The arena in which we play is just built and still smells new. It is the largest hall in which I have ever played. I estimate that it certainly is 50 meters high. Along with the fact that the lights above the courts are very strong it makes the circumstances not exactly easy to play badminton in. We get the opportunity to practice 3 times in the main hall, which is a luxury position at such a big event. This allows us to adapt well to the playing conditions.

Here as well as next week in Hong Kong we have drawn the same opponents in the first round. They are Widianto and Dili from Indonesia. About a month ago they were our opponents in the final of the Yonex Dutch Open and then we lost in five games with the experimental scoring system 5×11. This time we play according to the familiar 3×21. Beforehand we analyze our final of the YDO together with our coach Kim Nielsen and we come to some new aspects to take notice of. With those in our minds we enter the arena. We play on one of the side courts, which is an advantage because there the light is less blazing.

From the first point in the first game we can play the game as we have discussed previously. Samantha is playing very well at the net and each time she dares challenging Dili. This way I can keep the field compact and several times I can successfully step forward from half court to the net. Until the end of the game, we stay close together. At 21-20, at our second game point, we score the winning point.
In the next game we continue our strong and offensive playing. The Indonesians are getting increasingly uncertain and start making mistakes. Two series of 7 and 4 consecutive points allow us to take a convincing lead and soon we decide the match in our favour by 21-10. Obviously we are very happy with this revenge win and also our coach Kim is more than happy!

In the second round, on Thursday, we face the numbers 4 of the seeding list, the former world champions Ahmad and Natsir from Indonesia. This mixed double rests on Lilyana Natsir. I dare honestly say that she is the best mixed doubles lady there is at the moment. Since 2005 she has been at the world top and she probably cannot even count the number of Super Series victories. Ahmad is the lucky elected one to be allowed to play with her and he too, of course, performs very well.
We have played them once before and that was during the Swiss Open in 2013. Then we had no chance and unfortunately this is still the case. We try everything, but they always have an answer. With twice 21-11 we have to acknowledge them as our superior. Their service and the way Natsir extends her overhead make this pair to be absolute world class.

For us the tournament is over. The next few days we’ll practice here and on Sunday we’ll fly to Hong Kong for the next Super Series tournament. There, on Wednesday, we’ll meet……. Widianto and Dili again!

Silver medal at Yonex Dutch Open. In spite of or thanks to new scoring system?

(16 oktober 2014)

The Yonex Dutch Open is the only Grand Prix tournament in the Netherlands. Every year in October it is organized in the Top Sport Arena in Almere. This year the Dutch Open was one of the tournaments that was appointed to experiment with the new scoring system 5 games to 11 without setting. It was also one of the last opportunities to test this system internationally. Looking back it was a nice tournament fortunately attracting large crowds, especially in the weekend, which led to an enthusiastic and occasionally exuberant atmosphere. An attractive and stimulating environment for the players to put up a tremendous performance. An added plus was the smart way the games were shown on Badminton Europe TV and to millions of TV viewers particularly in Asia.

Due to injuries Samantha and I couldn’t participate last year but now we joined in and were seeded seventh. The mixed doubles tournament was quite strong. A number of top 25 mixed doubles registered, among which a large delegation from badminton mecca Indonesia.

In the first rounds our way of playing was a matter of building up level. Nevertheless, we managed to win the first two rounds in 5 and 4 games respectively. On Friday we played the quarter finals and we had the first real confrontation.

Our opponents were Yun Lung Chan and Ying Suet Tse from Hong Kong, the numbers 4 of the seeding list. This pair has performed well this year and is currently 25th in the world ranking. Among other good performances they reached the semi-finals at the Korea Open Premier Super Series during which, for example, they defeated the couple Adcock from England which currently is 5th in the ranking.
We succeeded to win this match in five games and that was an example of a mental victory, an aspect which is very important in the new scoring system. After we had won the first game by 11-10, we lost game 2 and 3 with 4-11 and in the fourth game we survived a matchpoint. In this particular rally we were very much forced to go on the defensive, but also with some luck, we were able to score the winning point. In game five we could finally push through and we won by 11-3. I am sure that again the mental factor was decisive.

In the semifinals on Super Saturday we met two “acquaintances”, the Russians Durkin and Vislova. Earlier this year we played this pair in the quarterfinals of the European Championship in Russia which was the fight for a European Championship medal. Then we won in a long lasting match of 3 games to 21 and we went out of our minds. Now we won again in three games, only this match was much shorter now, only 26 minutes, and less exciting. But it meant a place in the final and there was every reason to go crazy.

And then Sunday, the day of the finals of the Dutch Open. The atmosphere in the Arena is very good, co-driven by the Indonesians in the audience who have countrymen represented in 4 finals. After a good briefing and analysis by our coach Kim we start our warming-up. We are the second match of the day. After the prize-giving ceremony of the women’s singles final, we are called and with loud applause we enter the arena.

From the first moment on we can play our own game and take a big lead. We even get to 10-7 but nevertheless we do not win that game, 10-11. Still we do play a good game and we manage to keep that level in game 2 and 3 which we win. In the fourth game we take a 6-3 lead. Than a long rally follows in which we are forced to go on the defensive. The Indonesians play a flat smash which should have gone out over the back line but we are in the way of the shuttle and just cannot avoid it. Lucky for them. After this rally we twice work careless and it’s a tie. From this moment on the Indonesians are getting increasingly confident that a fifth game is possible. We can still play the right game just like we want to but ….we are just too eager. We seem to have lost our patience in the rallies, the way of building them up and finishing them off. That’s how we lose the fourth game. Somewhat affected we start game five and soon we are far behind. In this scoring system it’s almost impossible to make that up again and that is how we lose the game and the match.

The first few days I have had a bad feeling about this final, but on the other hand I’m also very proud of our performance during this tournament and the level that we have achieved in this final battle. Our coach confirmed my own feelings: “you both played your best badminton today, the best match you two ever played together”.

Moreover, we cannot be and shall not be disappointed too long because next week the French Open Super Series in Paris is scheduled. Again we play Indonesians but this time again with the familiar best of 3 games to 21. Although we had good results with the experimental scoring system during the Dutch Open I remain an opponent of its implementation. All the arguments against which I mentioned in my previous blog are still valid except the one that matches will be shorter. Considering the fact that there are 9 minutes break off time at a 5 game match it will be a matter of time that matches will easily last over an hour!! In between my matches I have spoken many people in the audience and it was remarkable that most of them were not enthusiastic about the new scoring system. People find it messy and dislike the many intervals which kill the dynamics of a match. I hope the BWF is going to take all the feedback seriously and above all that they will listen to the players who, with the exception of a few, are against the implementation of this system.

New scoring system best of 5 to 11

(14 september 2014)

This week, at the Belgian Open in Leuven, I played my first tournament with the scoring system 5 games to 11. At the request of BWF this scoring system is tried out at 20 events between August and October. BWF has the intention to replace the present scoring system of 3 games to 21 by this new system because they want to shorten the matches. Long lasting matches wouldn’t be interesting enough for the spectators, for the same reason the media would have difficulties with it and above all it wouldn’t be exciting enough for the public because a game would only become attractive at a score of 18-18. (n.b. not my opinion but the BWF’s)

Considering the above mentioned arguments it is rather peculiar that the new system is being tested at future series (the lowest tournament level), at International Challenge level and a grand total of 2 Grand Prix tournaments!! At all these events you are lucky when there are a 100 people on the tribunes not to speak of the media who are hardly interested. BWF, what’s this all about? Why not testing the system at Super Series (Premier) level where you are assured of large crowds and a high attention of the media. And if you really want to try it you should confront the best players in the world with it at the most prestigious tournaments where thousands of fans and all the media are present.

Why should there be a change again in a scoring system which has been more than satisfactory for a great number of years? A soccer match lasts 90 minutes and at tennis the scoring system has been unchanged for many decades. And above all the experiment with the 5 games to 7 system, which was introduced in 2002, was a complete flop and abandoned not long after it had been introduced.

Besides the fact that I disagree with BWF about this system I really experience this points system as a setback for our sport because Badminton is no longer the very heavy sport where also endurance and fitness can make the difference between winning and losing. In the new system the emphasis will be on the mental aspect of the sport, the underdog will have a bigger chance to win and rallies will be shorter as the stress level will be higher. Last but not least the badminton player leaves the court after a match with a feeling of having barely played. In my view all these aspects imply a deterioration i.s.o. an improvement. It will be clear that I am AGAINST the introduction of this system.

The Denmark China connection

(28 augustus 2014)

Last year Samantha and I had qualified ourselves for the World Championships which were then organized in China. Our Association didn’t have the funds to delegate us but with a crowdfunding project we got that much financial support that we were able to go.

This year the World Championships are organized by Badminton Denmark. The venue is the Ballerup Super Arena, some 25 km from Copenhagen. So not far to travel and because of that a lot cheaper for the Association to delegate us.

Early Saturdaymorning we fly to Copenhagen by KLM and we move into the Zleep Hotel which is located around the corner of the arena. Very convenient but far from urban life. So nothing to distract us and we can focus completely on our training and the matches to come.

The arena is originally build for cycling racing. But now it has been transformed into a fantastically decorated badminton arena. The Danes have managed to introduce something very innovative. When you are called for a match your name appears on a display at the court where you are playing, also showing your picture and the country you represent. When you start with the warming up the display is raised and changes into the life score board. Very ingenious. Apart from this the whole crew of volunteers helping to make this tournament a success are dressed in bright orange shirts. You will understand that we Dutch feel at home.

Our first match is scheduled Monday morning. We know our opponents, Kaesbauer en Herttrich, pretty well. Last March at the Swiss Open we were defeated by them in 2 games. So time for revanche.

In the beginning of the first game we both don’t give way but after the interval we manage to switch to an other playing level and even score 5 consecutive points. We take a good lead and soon we have game point which we don’t cash. At the second game point we take the win, 21-16. In the second game we fall behind pretty soon but again after the interval we score 5 consecutive points and draw level. After that we both don’t give way much, but in the final stage we get the first game point. Again we don’t finish it off. We come to 20-20 but then we score 2 points and win the match.

The second round on Tuesday is tough. We meet the Chinese Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, seeded 10th and number 11 on the world ranking. Only six months they are playing together and they have already developed to a “world class” mixed double pair. Well in advance we analyzed their playing style but especially new pairs do easily change their style sometimes. Of course they don’t play completely different now but the Chinese man was playing much better than we had seen on videos. Better control at mid court, no stupid choices, no free points because of service mistakes etc.

We make a good start in the first game and we don’t give way much. But then the Chinese accelerate and we can’t keep up with them. Two times they score 4 or 5 consecutive points and we don’t get a chance anymore.
We lose : 12-21. In the second game we offer better resistance but it’s no close battle at all. We lose the game by 16-21 and the match.

Of course we are not satisfied with the result (losing in the second round) but we are with the way we played these two matches. Our coach Kim is also satisfied and he sees much progress since he started his job 5 months ago. Our mixed in the World Championships is finished but the spirit is unchanged and high. A new season is about to start with new challenges and with good chances to improve our world ranking.

The past weeks Samantha and I, together with Kim, have looked at the tournament program for the months to come. Thereby we had to make the choice of whether to play Super Series in China and Hong Kong or not. Our coach and our intellect told us to go there but our financial situation told us not to go. The budget we get from our Association is not sufficient and with 4 more months to go we have very little money left. Still, after much deliberation we did cut the knot. In November we’ll play the Thaihot China Open and immediately after that the Sunrise Hong Kong Open. The cost of the tournament hotel in Hong Kong is higher than the cost of the return flight to Fuzhou and Hong Kong. This may give you an idea about how heavily this trip weighs on our budget. I do not intend to start a crowdfunding project again like I did last year. After all it’s not a World or European Championship we are talking about. But to us these two tournaments are equally important and I will not refrain from saying that any financial support will be more than welcome. If you want to make a contribution please send me an email at I will be very grateful.

Preparing for the World Championships

(28 juli 2014)

Right after we came back home from our Canada/USA tour we started a 6 week training program to prepare us for the World Championships in Denmark. We started with a “medium hard week” and last week was scheduled to be a “hard training week”. This means long lasting exercises on court, often executed in a two against one mode, many repeated exercises at the power training, long spinning sessions and a multi program on Tuesday and Friday which did not make me happy when I first saw the scheme.

You may wonder what kind of training I am talking about. For those who like to get an idea about what a training is like and who don’t mind a rather technical story I will explain below, by means of an example, the multi shuttle training we did last Tuesday.

When in the hall I start laying down the rows of shuttles. I soon find out that one, fully filled, big box of shuttles is not enough. I lay very many rows for the exercises to come:

3 x 20 shuttles are meant for the warming-up. The feeder shoots shuttles over the entire length/width of the court and of course at a rather slow pace.

Round 1

24 shuttles: high lob, straight forward smash preferably in the tramlines, move to the front field to finish off the following shuttles, move back diagonally to receive a high lob again, smash, straight forward and finish off at the net. This exercise is repeated 6 times.

24 shuttles: I am the front field player in doubles. I get one soft feed in the middle, move to my forehand side to cover my own half of the field, then the feeder shoots again two level shuttles. This exercise is repeated 4 times on my forehand side and 4 times on my back hand side.

25 shuttles: I am the back field player in the (mixed) doubles. I am constantly feeded in the back field as well as the center field and I have to shoot the shuttles over the net with as much variation as possible. Here a point of attention is to close the gap to the center field as quick as possible after a shoot from the back field. This is important in the doubles to avoid too much space between the front field and back field player. This way you can keep it a compact game.

25 shuttles: I am directed to all possible positions on court and I am constantly defending and trying to get the shuttle. A lot of twisting and turning, a lot of moving forward and backward, from left to right. An exhausting exercise causing an almost ultimate heartbeat.

18 shuttles: I am the service receiving player. I am ready at the service line and get a flick service which I smash, then the feeder gives a fast center field shuttle which I drive back right over the net which I get back and then finish it off at the net.

16 shuttles: Center field, side to side jumps. The feeder shoots, constantly changing from left to right, medium height shuttles to which I have to jump and smash them in the floor as hard as possible, all this preferably varying between cross court smashes and straight forward smashes in the tramlines.

25 shuttles: No front nor back field, better known as ”box”. In a fixed sequence I am directed from left to right. All shots have to be returned flat over the net and as offensive as possible, mostly by low powered and stopping strokes. The pace is high and in combination with the previous exercise this one is very heavy.

20 shuttles: I am front field player and I am only receiving shots which I have to return over the net from the front field. Either hard and flat strokes or soft and feeling shots.
This concludes round 1 and I am allowed a 1 minute break. Then the whole thing starts all over again till I have finished 4 rounds.

After these 4 rounds we start with the partner exercises which means that we act like we do in the doubles.

6 x 25 shuttles: without using the back court. The focus is on making fast speed from the center field to the net and return the fast presented shuttles overarm. Now it’s important that I keep on moving fast and explosively despite the acidification in the legs.

The final exercise is 4 times one minute in which you almost die. The feeders shoot a lob in the right back court which I return in the center field as a stick smash, followed by a center field medium height lob on the left side which I have to smash as hard as possible by jumping into it and to finish off the (third) returned shuttle at the net. Then it starts all over again. I do this twice to the right and twice to the left side. After the last minute ( I wasn’t aware how long a minute can be) I am completely worn out and drop on the floor where I have to lay down for a couple of minutes to recover.

Time for an update

(18 juli 2014)

My last report dates from more than two months ago when we returned with a bronze medal from the European Championships in Kazan. After the short-lived euphoria it is of course soon “business as usual” again. Finally Samantha and myself have only one thing in mind and that is to come back as soon as possible in the top 25 of the world ranking. The training led by Kim Nielsen is heavy but very inspiring. Especially tactically and mentally he knows how to make the difference.

Having the prospect of the World Championships in Denmark there is still much to do, including the safeguarding of the points that we achieved last year, before Samantha’s injury, at the Spanish Open, the Canada Open and the U.S. Open.

On May 21, we fly to Madrid for the Spanish Open. Fortunately, it is not too hot and the conditions are fine. We reach the semi-finals but here we must acknowledge the superiority of the first seeded pair Blair and Bankier. Eventually this pair also wins the tournament. All in all, we are not unhappy. As we don’t have to play the final we have the opportunity to explore the city of Madrid. It sure is a beautiful city with its Plaza’s and mercado’s. While walking around, you can taste the football atmosphere around the Champions League final between Real and Atlético which was played the previous night in Lisbon. We do not know yet that a few weeks later the Dutch soccer team will beat Spain by 5-1 in the first group match of the World Cup.

In the following month, everything is focused on the preparation of our North American tour that, unlike last year, starts in Vancouver this time and ends in New York. We are happy that Rune Massing will accompany us as coach. Even though we are only with 4 players, it’s still very nice to have a coach around that will help you in analyzing your opponents and preparing your matches.

On June 27, we fly with KLM to Vancouver. A smooth flight, on time and good care. After arrival we are picked up and brought to the place where we will stay. This time the event takes place within the huge campus of the University of British Columbia and we stay on campus. I have a small dorm room on the 14th floor with stunning views over the bay of Vancouver. The Rocky Mountains on the other side are partially hidden behind the clouds, but later in the week, with a clear sky they are wonderful to see. We took plenty of time to get used to the big time difference of 9 hours. This time I don’t really succeed to get used to it and when I start with the tournament I am not really rested.

The hall where we play is not pleasant. The mats are put directly on the concrete floor of this ice hockey stadium. Risk of injuries is obvious but despite protests from many players and team managers nothing is changed. We are first seeded and have to live up to that. Via a Canadian and two Korean pairs we reach the final. There we meet Max Schwenger and Carla Nelte second seeded. For my part it is not a good match and we lose, unnecessarily, with 18-21 and 21-23.

Sunday morning at 04:00 we are brought to the airport. We have a long journey to New York ahead of us with a 5 hour intermediate stop at Minneapolis. When at 06:55 our flight is ready to leave, one finds out that an EXIT sign is gone. Without that sign they cannot fly, so we disembark and wait what will happen. One and a half hour later we are told that we have been rebooked via Seattle. That trip goes smoothly and eventually we arrive one hour later in New York than our original flight plan. With a rental car and with Iris as navigator we drive in the dark to our hotel on Long Island. The sports center where we play is huge and the hall is well equipped but quite draughty, like most larger arenas. We have a few days to train and prepare us for the tournament.

The first matches are won by us, but in the quarter-finals, we come to face a Chinese Taipei pair. The first game we win by 19, but then they teach us who are the better ones. With this result we have to live. Not really a satisfactory end, because again I feel that we have not reached our level again.

As we fly back on Sunday we have Saturday to visit the Big Apple. It’s a wonderful relaxing day visiting a number of famous sights. We start at Ground Zero which is very impressive. From there we walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. Then we take the subway to Wall Street, recognizable from movies and television, walk again to Broadway, Central Park and we end the day at Times Square where we have dinner. In the evening this giant plaza is fantastically lighted and it leaves a special impression on me. At Penn Station near Madison Square Garden we take the subway back to the train station. After 14 hours of great New York impressions it’s time to pack our bags again in the hotel.

On Sunday we have the first KLM flight back to the Netherlands and after a 7 hours flight we arrive again at Schiphol Airport. It’s good to be home again. This week we have started with a 6 week preparation for the World Championships in Denmark. For the latest updates you can follow me on