In fact, Jamelon Mulders initially did not like to succeed ousted Allison Annan as the women’s national hockey coach. The 45-year-old German thinks an assistant would suit him better than the head coach role at the moment. After an urgent appeal was made to him by the hockey league and players, Mulders surrendered and was promoted from assistant to national coach. Until the World Hockey Championships in July, Mulders’ job was to restore calm to the devastated women’s team. “I think it’s very important to give confidence and not ask for it, because that doesn’t work,” Mulders says in Dutch, almost without an accent. What we need most now is time. Time on the court and timeout to get close together as a group.
After all, a lot has happened to a hockey team that has won everything it could have won in recent years under national coach Alison Annan, and the Tokyo Olympic title was the most attractive outcome. However, the path to success does not deserve a beauty award. Last month, Annan had to leave the field after several hockey players reported an unhealthy sports climate. There was talk of verbal intimidation, a culture of fear, poor communication, and psychological abuse. Hockey federation KNHB took the signals seriously and saw no other option than to terminate the contract with Annan. Then assistant national coach Mulders held the honors for a few weeks and was officially named national coach last week for the next five months.
The former German international, who won 42 caps, talks about the painful situation of his colleague Alison Annan. She did not deserve such a sad farewell after all the successes of Dutch hockey. Alisson left a lot of good things behind,” says Mulders, who was added to the coaching staff as an assistant national coach last September with Annan’s intercession. Previously he worked as the national coach for German women’s hockey and who became European champion in 2013 and Olympic bronze in 2016. He also worked National coach in China.
Mulders is not a guy who likes to be out front. Nor is he the type of national coach who will now tell hockey players what to do and what not to do. Like it is: Watch, listen, ask questions and it’s easy. “I don’t matter at all,” Mulders says frankly. “For me it is about one thing; the connection. And I mean the relationship between the girls themselves and the relationship between the team and the staff. As a national coach, I hope to be able to contribute to the personal development of the players and the development of the team. The outside world always looks at winning medals, but that is not all It’s about it for me. As a coach I am not responsible for winning a gold medal, I am responsible for the development of the individual and the team. If everything goes well and there is good cooperation, there is a good chance of winning a great medal.
Mulders admits that he faces a very difficult task to bring the women’s selection ranks closer in no time. After all, players have different opinions about the most desirable sports climate. “We definitely have some big challenges to overcome. But I think we are taking good steps together in the first weeks. At the beginning of February we traveled to Spain with our full training group of 25 players for two Pro League matches. It was a good trip to get to know each other. Some better and get closer to each other.The group of players is made up of a great mix of smart ladies with open personalities who have many qualities in the technical and tactical field.What I experience is that there is a very open communication with each other and meaning.Criticism is seen as a tool for improvement.I I really do not doubt the attitude of the players and their good intentions.
The new interim national team coach attaches great importance to achieving the right balance between luxury and performance. I am convinced that these things go hand in hand. You can only achieve great performance if you are in perfect balance as a person.
Mulders does not dare to predict whether such performances will follow this summer at the World Cup (in the Netherlands and Spain), where the Dutch women defend their world title. Everyone has been expecting the Netherlands to win the world title for some time, but it just doesn’t work that way. No, I’m not drafting a goal for the World Cup. What I really hope is that the Dutch public will stand behind us, even in the times when things are not going well. We will really need that support”, says Mulders. He will definitely stop with the Dutch national team after the World Cup. The father of four wants to focus more on his family and scientific studies at Dublin University. I have all the qualifications to work as a national coach, and I have already proven that. But my ambitions lie in Elsewhere.
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