Successful final meeting of Ajax Training: 'Gives good hope and vision for the future'

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ACA1 (1)

Flushed faces and excited voices. It was buzzing at sports complex de Toekomst last Sunday, where the final meeting of the Ajax Training 2022/2023 was held. The participants of the 2* Ajax Education Program followed completed the final session of their course and were awarded their certificates together with the participants of the 1* Ajax Education Program. Perhaps there is a bright future ahead for them at Ajax. "What sets Ajax apart from other clubs is that we always strive for quality and always want to bring it onto the pitch. That's why we need people who really understand what Ajax stands for."


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Education, it's the trademark of Ajax. It takes place at all levels and both inside and outside the lines. On behalf of the Ajax Coaching Academy, Corné Groenendijk stressed the importance of the Ajax Training Academy. "An important core value of Ajax is: we bring talent to the fore. It is incredibly important that we do that not only with players, but also with the staff. In our endeavour to train at Champions League level, we are constantly looking to improve our own values."

"This is precisely why events like this are very valuable," Groenendijk continued. "People who choose to be influenced by our teachers over a long period of time, who live Ajax and give substance to it. We are proud of that and also gives us very good hope and vision for the future that we will always be able to train our own, new people."

Putting things into practice
Perhaps Mauro Turkenburg will be one of them. While participants of the 1* Ajax Education Program are introduced to the club's organisation and working methods at introductory level, the Ouderkerk aan de Amstel resident has already completed two 2* Ajax Education Programmes.  

In the online 2* Ajax Education Program - Deepening Training Pillars course, Mauro gained more knowledge about the three pillars central to training talent. He took the basic knowledge gained during the 2* Ajax Education Program - Training Cruyff Quality - Maximum Ball Control. This training consisted of six practical sessions at sports complex de Toekomst.  

While trainer/coaches made football content trainable on the pitch, video analysts followed the 2* Ajax Education Program at the same time - The Analysis Cycle. Led by video analyst of Ajax U16 Tijs Logchies and of Ajax U17 Erik Jagers, they were introduced to what aspects a video analyst has to deal with in a working week. The day of the season finale was also the last practice session of both courses. 

Opportunities for talent 
Apart from receiving a nice certificate which looks good on his trainer CV, the Ajax Training has already made an impact on other fronts. "The head youth coach of Roda '23 has seen me at work here and there is a good chance I will now become head coach of the U16 there. It's nice that I got that from this at a Partner Club of Ajax. Who knows what else might fit next to it. I certainly hope for a continuation at Ajax, in whatever role. Last summer, I was actually supposed to go to America with the Camps & Clinics, but because of Covid, that was cancelled."

The importance of partner clubs
Turkenburg already mentioned them, the Partner Clubs. These are hugely important for Ajax. Not only to have support in Amsterdam and its surroundings, but also to raise the level of training content to a higher level. Ajax hopes to get talents in even sharper focus and eventually delivered at the highest possible level.  

Last season, Ajax started a process with partners RKVV Westlandia, SV Hoofddorp, Koninklijke HFC and AVV Zeeburgia to recruit talent together in terms of (goalkeeper) coaches, video analysts and scouts. A good number followed various Ajax training courses through this route and were therefore in attendance on May 7.  

The lines of communication are very short, which is why there was also an opportunity for people from the Partner Clubs who are not yet training to attend various knowledge sessions on Sunday. For instance, there were Youth Scouting, Video Analysis and Goalkeeper Training workshops that you could register for. And they were hugely popular.  

Here, a piece of theory was linked to practice. For example, participants in the Youth Scouting Workshop were tasked with assessing players during a demonstration training session. That session - in which youth teams from Kon. HFC and SV Hoofddorp appeared on the pitch - was led by participants from the 2* Ajax Education Program.

'Training heart beats faster'
Caspar Dekker enjoyed it from the sidelines. He is Head of Youth Academy at Kon. HFC and, like his colleagues in the same position at the other Partner clubs, was invited to the final meeting. "This does make my training heart beat faster, big compliments to Ajax," says Dekker, who found himself surrounded by about 50 or so clubmates.  

"The players on the pitch are from HFC, which already makes the number large and in addition to that we have five trainers who have participated in the training courses this year. We also included some interested parties for next season." I

Dekker is very appreciative of the content of the curriculum. "You have so many standard courses in the Netherlands to become a football coach, but there's never a majpr difference in the approach. Ajax does this with the principles of Johan Cruijff. He is the icon of Dutch football and therefore also our icon. If we can give that to our children now, that's cultural heritage."

Sharing the Ajax philosophy
During the demonstration training, Yuri Rose was also on the pitch. Besides his work as coach of Ajax U17, the former pro is also involved in the 2* Ajax Education Program. Valuable, Rose believes. 

"It is also about sharing the idea of Ajax. How do we want to train? They are here six times on Sunday, so those are pretty nice sessions. Who knows, there might be a nice trainer we can use at our partner clubs, the Ajax Camps & Clinics, the Ajax Football School or even the Ajax Youth Academy.''

The whole event concluded with the certificate awards in the de Toekomst canteen. Head of Education Bart Logchies brought it all together skilfully and with a dash of humour and expressed the hope of welcoming many new participants next season from within the organisation, partner clubs and anyone who wants to develop further through Ajax. He also explained that there are also 3* and 4* Ajax training courses.  

"The 2* Courses are accessible to everyone at a basic level. Advanced 3* Courses have entry requirements that vary from course to course. If you have the ambition to act as an expert on behalf of Ajax, you will make the final step towards the 4* Training Courses, which are by invitation only."

Experts of the year
Best practice is that the experts of the season were also elected during the Closing Meeting. For the international programmes, that was Coordinator of Medical/Performance Bastiaan Bruning and for the Dutch-language programmes, foundation trainer, Thomas Niehe. The latter, according to Logchies, proves the opportunities within Ajax for youthful coaching talent to grow. "Thomas came in from partner club BFC Bussum through the Technical Selection Day, has attended Ajax Training, has made strides in youth training and now acts as an expert on behalf of the foundation group to impart knowledge." 

Next season's new Ajax Training programmes start in September. Would you like to keep up to date with what's on offer? Then register here for free. 

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