Maurits Hendriks studied Law and Communication Sciences and at the same time trained hockeyplayers. When he was 16 years old (and thus officially too young) the national hockey federation gave the very passionate Hendriks, permission to complete a course for hockey trainers. He passed and was ...
Maurits Hendriks studied Law and Communication Sciences and at the same time trained hockeyplayers. When he was 16 years old (and thus officially too young) the national hockey federation gave the very passionate Hendriks, permission to complete a course for hockey trainers. He passed and was allowed to train other teenagers.
In 1995, Maurits Hendriks decided to become a full time coach. He was successful from the start: the teams of Amsterdam and HGC won the Dutch championships, after which he was asked to join the staff of the Dutch national team. He was appointed assistant to coach Roelant Oltmans. For the next three years they won almost every tournament: Olympic gold, the world championship and the Champions Trophy.
When Oltmans decided to become a soccer coach, Maurits Hendriks was asked to be the new coach of the Dutch national team. There was a moment of doubt: Was there any room for improvement?
The answer was obvious: “Let’s show we are able to win back-to-back gold.” Another famous saying: “Reaching the top is difficult, staying at the top is almost impossible.” Maurits Hendriks and his team achieved second place at the European championships, they won the Champions Trophy and the ‘back-to-back’ gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
After that the chemistry between the coach and his team was gone and Maurits Hendriks had to find a new challenge, which he found in Spain. The Spanish national team had fallen to the 11th position on the world ranking list. He noticed that his knowledge of Spanish culture (sun, beach, wine, bull fights) was very limited. “To start with, they don’t speak the same language, sometimes literally, and they don’t believe in the same flag.” That was the start of a fascinating period of team building. Maurits travelled through the country for two years, trying to understand the Spanish and their many regional cultures.
At the same time the coach and his team started to train intensively and to play international games in all the corners of the world. They visited three continents within two years to experience different styles of playing hockey. “Spaniards are an isolated people. They are not used to be away from home for a long time. That’s why they are not at ease abroad. I had to create a level playing field. Our first tournament would be in South Africa. We went there a year before to learn to feel at home there. We won the tournament.”
Spain participated in many tournaments. They had a chance to win gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, but the Spanish national team and Hendriks ended op with a very unsatisfying fourth place. Three months later Hendriks had his team more motivated than ever before. They beat the Dutch in the finals of the Champions Trophy. After that victory the team was eager to win the European championships for the first time. And again they beat the Dutch and became champion.