Mental game: Sjoerd Marijne and profiling personalities

When the failed clearance by a USA defender landed at Rani Rampal’s stick, coach Sjoerd Marijne had a hunch of what could happen next. “I know some of our girls, they like the tension,” Marijne says, without naming Rani.

Marijne isn’t guessing. He knows for sure. His knowledge on the players’ behaviour is based on a personality profile conducted on every player earlier this year. Physical fitness has just been one part of Marijne’s project with the women’s team, with whom he has been associated since early 2017. The Dutchman, also a motivational speaker, has laid equal emphasis on the mental aspect.

With language being the main barrier, Marijne said he had to develop an alternate way to extract basic information about his players: Why do they take a particular decision? What is their personality like? How do they react under stress? What do they like?

“I used a personality profiling tool called VIP 24, which helps you understand better why the players are making certain choices inside the pitch. That, in turn, helps my coaching,” Marijne says.

The results of the 30-minute online assessment were fascinating. “When some players are under stress, they are looking down. Consequently, they don’t see the passes. So I take them off, try to bring the pressure off by talking to them and bring energy back,” he says, adding that there were several ocassions during the two-match Olympic qualifier against USA where the information came in handy.

“Every girl reacts in different ways to stress – the way they perform, the way they interact…” he says. “I hope to continue using this tool in the future as well. All this information helps me to build the team.”

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