SportWays is my school | SportWays

SportWays is my school

Willem observing the kids' training progress Name: Willem Mesman Schultz
Age: 22
Hockey club: Almeerse HC, Almere, Netherlands
Staff since: 2020
Role: trainer


As a kid, I never joined a SportWays hockey camp. Several of my teammates from the Almere men's team are currently a staff member at SportWays, and have been for quite some time now. One summer, Floris, one of those teammates, asked me what I was going to do after our summer trip together. I didn't really have any plans. “Will you join me at a SportWays overnight camp?” he asked me. Floris invests a lot of his time in SportWays, so I knew his stories. “Count me in!”, I said.

A couple of weeks later, I arrived at the SportWays office for the intake. I didn’t know anyone, had never been to the office before and had no idea what to expect. I also really did not have a clear goal for myself. I just wanted a fun hockey camp, cool clinics and of course sunny weather.

Willem showing his own hockeyskills to the kids

I never expected that something this special existed within the hockey community. I’ve been playing hockey since I was 6 years old. It has always been something I really enjoyed and was really good at. Hockey really was my passion. I heard a lot of stories from different people about the SportWays camps, but I kept thinking that it was just another hockey camp. During my week, however, I realized that SportWays really is something different. It’s a culture that becomes part of who you are as a person.

During my camp, I recognized this SportWays culture back in the managers of the camp. They breathe it, and they perfectly know how to present the culture to the staff. You get sucked into that feeling, and in the blink of an eye, there’s a unique and open atmosphere where you truly can be yourself.

Thanks to this special ambiance, I found out that I have more goals than I initially thought. I feel this urge, where I want to share my own hockey knowledge with more people. Maybe I even want to become a Technical Director. I want to inspire kids and staff, and write my own hockey programme based on my vision.

Willem preparing for the next hockey clinicIn society, more than often you’re just one of many. In school for example, you are just a number. There isn’t that much attention for you and your individual goals. To me, SportWays is an organization where they make sure there is plenty of space for you to grow. They really go out of their way to make sure you’re able to reach your goals. Despite having a massive staff group, with lots of different people with different ambitions. Some come to learn as much as possible, and some come to have an amazing week with lots of hockey and fun. SportWays makes sure everything is possible. And, more important, they make sure you get the time and attention you need to reach your goal.

Willem with his hockeyhero Max CaldasThe opportunities to reach your goals, that’s what you get at SportWays. The open ambiance makes sure you’ll grab every chance to improve yourself and learn from others. You’re never too old to learn. Hockey legends that I still look up to and were far out of my reach, are suddenly closer than ever. And you even get to learn from them! In 2020, the national coach of the Dutch men’s team, Max Caldas, visited a few camps. He came by to give a masterclass about ‘Reaching the Olympic level’. What qualities make a good hockey player? What do you need to do to reach your own goals, and maybe even reach the Olympic level? 

Thomas Tichelman, founder of SportWays and former national coach of both the Dutch men’s and women’s team, is also one of those legends that suddenly is within your reach. It remains very special to me to see him on the pitch, doing that clinic he is famous for. When I’m on the pitch with him, I really get the feeling that this is how it must have felt to play for him. Thomas is a coach that I really lookup to, and now I get the chance to learn from him. To me, he’s a coach with a unique level of enthusiasm and knowledge.

Both Max and Thomas are icons within the hockey community, icons whom I admire a lot. They are part of a path I’m choosing, with the full support of SportWays. It’s a chance I’m grabbing with both my hands. I’m at the start of an epic journey, my SportWays story is just beginning.

Do you want to develop yourself, just like I’m doing, under the best of circumstances? Become a better coach, and improve yourself on the pitch? Check here how you can become a staff member!