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12.02.2012, 15:15
"Passion and quality"
«Go back »Print Version


Dutch National Team coach Henk Groener talks about his goals for the EHF EURO 2012.

»EHF Euro Events Channel »2012 Women's News
»
 

"Passion and quality"

Trainer Henk Groener gives an insight into the country´s ‘HandbalAcademie’ program and also talks about his goals for the EHF EURO 2012 in The Netherlands.

ehf-euro.com: Despite a disappointing performance in Brazil, The Netherlands are flying high again and the last few years proved that you have a bright future with several gifted players from the young generation. How important is the ‘HandbalAcademie’ in finding new talents and producing future handball players?

Henk Groener: I don't know if we are exactly flying high, but I am very happy that we have a handball academy in The Netherlands. Handball is a relatively small sport in our country and clubs are having a hard time finding the financial means to be able to compete with the greater handball nations.

In co-operation with sponsors and NOC-NSF, we were able to build a talent developing program at Papendal that shows results and enables Dutch girls to make their way in the international handball world.

It is an inevitable project if we want to compete in a fully professional environment such as international women's handball. A big part of the women's team now consists of players of the present and former junior generation and builds a great perspective for the years to come.

Brazil however showed us that the road to the top is still a long one from where we are now. Hard work over many more years will be required to be able to play for medals someday.

ehf-euro.com: Would you please introduce us to this model and give a little insight into how this system works?

Henk Groener: At the handball academy, 25 girls, aged between 16 and 20 take part in a full-time program. They practice twice every day from Monday until Thursday. A lot of attention at the beginning is put on physical preparation since they change from training twice a week to twice a day.

First, become a professional athlete, then become a professional handball player. The girls live at the national sports centre "Papendal" and study at schools or colleges nearby. On Fridays they train with their club team and play their competition matches on the weekends.

It is an individual improvement program where the girls learn every aspect of modern handball, according to our own vision of handball in The Netherlands.

We get lots of requests from young talents that want to be part of the program, but unfortunately we have only 25 places available.

ehf-euro.com: The trademark of the National Team is a rock solid defence and fast attacking, using quick counter attacks. Will this system continue, and what are your plans for the players, in both attack and defence?

Henk Groener: The first thing we have to do is to return to a solid defence. We have conceded far too many goals due to lack of performance in our defence and goal. This will be our main objective in the coming period.

Then we must work on a more stable level of performance throughout the whole 60 minutes. It’s obvious that we’ll study our match against Spain at the World Championship closely and work on a more effective way to play the game. We must return to our strengths and be well prepared for our opponents. That will be our task in the months ahead.

ehf-euro.com: It might be too early to say, but what are your personal expectations of the continental event? Can The Netherlands make a similar euphoric breakthrough as Serbia´s men recently did at the EHF EURO in their native country?

Henk Groener: The EHF EURO 2012, although less than a year away, is still a long way ahead. First thing's first, but of course we want to present ourselves at the continental event in a way that will make all the Dutch spectators proud of our team and enthusiastic for the magnificent game of handball!

What the final result may be, we’ll see at the end of the tournament. The most important thing is that we play ourselves into the hearts of everyone who comes to watch our games, live or on television.

I think that’s also what the men's team from Serbia has done at the recent EHF EURO, not only with their results, but maybe even more so with the passion and quality they brought to their games.

Further Information

Find more information on the Women's EHF EURO 2012 Qualification HERE.

View more detailed information on the event on the Official EHF EURO 2012 Website.
www.ehf-euro.com/NED2012/

Join the growing community of fans of the event on Facebook!
www.facebook.com/NED2012


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs
 
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