Top level player and coach in equal amounts

May 17, 2017

Top level player and coach in equal amounts - Johan Cruyff Institute

The young Senna Bombach is learning on the Master in Coaching to develop personally and professionally: how to establish the boundaries between being a coach and a confidant with a team of adolescents

Senna Bombach is just 24 years old, but has already been active in the world of coaching for quite a while, balancing coaching of adolescents with playing field hockey herself.  While currently a player of Nijmegen’s first field hockey team, she is also the trainer/coach of Nijmegen’s Under-18 team and head coach of the Hockey Academy. Besides all that, Senna also gives field hockey clinics at primary schools.

“I really like working with youth players. It is amazing to see their open-mindedness and free spiritedness, because the younger their age, the more honest they are. Moreover, that gives a direct reflection on myself as a coach”, Senna says.

“I have been studying the Master in Coaching at the Johan Cruyff Institute since September. It is an intensive, emotional, energetic, surprising, open and very valuable journey. I am the youngest in the class, but I don’t really notice that. We all are here with the same goal: self-development. Everyone has their own background with educational experiences that we can all learn from. It makes it even more enriching to get feedback from student-coaches from different ages”.

Top level player and coach in equal amounts - Johan Cruyff Institute

Senna recognizes that it is not easy to work with young girls under 18. “It’s a difficult age group, because they get different priorities at that age, like boyfriends and going to parties. They also need to make more choices themselves. That makes the processes more difficult, but also interesting, because besides developing them as field hockey players, I also want to develop them as human beings”.

And that is when it is important to draw a clear line between the coach and the confidant. “I think it is important to be accessible for the girls. Nevertheless, I believe it’s important to maintain the border between what is acceptable and what is too personal. Sometimes I need to be stricter and sometimes I can let them go a little bit to reach more. I’m always up for a laugh, but at the end of the day, I’m the one who is responsible and the one making the decisions”.

Senna believes that “it’s easier to cope with the environment as an older coach with more experience. Fortunately, I have a great manager who guides me through it. My advantage is that I still play field hockey at a high level. As a player, I learn a lot from my own experiences. Like that, I stay innovative within the sport and I’m able to estimate what my own players need”.


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