Lidewij Welten: ‘2021 will be one big hockey puzzle’

It goes without saying that Lidewij Welten was pleasantly surprised on Tuesday when she heard the news about the resumption of group training and the beckoning restart of the big league . But with the unpredictability of the corona virus in mind, the attacker from Den Bosch and Oranje is still a bit of a blow. “Nothing is self-evident.”

If there is one thing Welten has learned in recent months, it is to be flexible. A top athlete likes structure, rhythm and clarity and it is precisely those things that have been under pressure for months due to the erratic corona virus.

‘The lack of perspective, that you have nowhere to work towards, is difficult for me,’ Welten says. ‘You have to be flexible, because things are constantly changing in these times. Nothing can be taken for granted. The Games in Tokyo remain circled in red on my agenda, but the road to it can still shoot in all directions. ‘

Rhythm is very important

The fact that the big league clubs will most likely be able to resume group training this month, is a very welcome step in the right direction, according to Welten. The 215-time international, who made an ardent plea in mid-October for all sports to continue at top level at all costs , hopes that the cabinet plans will be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Welten: ‘It is so important that we as hockey players can start up again. It would be dramatic if we had to wait even longer to train and play matches. And that of course also applies to other athletes. Getting your rhythm now is very important. Otherwise it is very difficult to get into a certain flow . The other day I changed my mind: I did not play a single game for the prizes in all of 2020. I’ve never experienced that before. ‘

Lidewij Welten fights for the ball in one of the few league matches of 2020, here against Pinoké. Photo: Willem Vernes

Welten was lucky that she – like many of her teammates in Den Bosch – the last two months just was able to train at the Orange Women who had three matches in the FIH Pro League play. As a result, she was less affected by the measures that the cabinet took on October 13: shutting down the big league and only training in groups of four.

“Well, it did hit me,” she countered. ‘It is always better to be able to continue to exercise in a team. I have respect for all those hockey players who have tried to make the most of it in groups of four in the past period. I can’t wait to be back on the field with the entire group from Den Bosch. ‘

Flexibility remains a requirement

The flexibility of recent months will also be a requirement in the coming period, Welten knows. Because no matter how nice the prospect of a quick resumption of the big league is, it will not be a carefree enterprise.

‘I have heard that the intention is to play league games again at the end of January. That is precisely the period when it is normally quite cold. Not all matches will be able to take place during that period. And when it comes to training times, you have to be flexible in this too. Because of the low temperatures, you can’t train early in the morning or in the evening. ‘

A restart of the big league in January will put even more pressure on 2021. That year for Welten with European club hockey in the EHL, the remainder of the matches in the FIH Pro League, the European Championship in Amstelveen and the Olympic Games are already over. add.

Welten: ‘2021 will be one big hockey puzzle. But don’t get me wrong: you won’t hear me complain. We all want nothing more than to get back to work. If I had to play on Sunday next week, I’ll be right there. ‘


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