Quartet of Feyenoord players train externally: ‘Footballers are in apology mode’

Quartet of Feyenoord players train externally: ‘Footballers are in apology mode’

NOS Football

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

  • Jorrit Hansen

    Follows Feyenoord on behalf of NOS Sport

Lazy soccer players

“I would venture to say that soccer players are lazy.” Kroon does not mince words. In his gym in Rotterdam-Noord he receives top athletes from different sports on a daily basis. “As a result, soccer players are confronted with how hard especially individual athletes train for their goals.”

“Football players are used to working at the lower limit. So they’re not used to training hard and getting outside their comfort zone. Really getting deep into the red zone. When things aren’t going well, soccer players can also always point to external factors like the crowd, the coach and fellow players not delivering. Often you see that they are in a world of excuses.”

Jordan Kroon

There are no more excuses for the quartet of Feyenoorders training at Kroon. They followed former Feyenoord player Tyrell Malacia, who impressed in the locker room with the development the extra training sessions gave him. “Who came in here as a reserve player of Feyenoord and left as a player of Oranje and Manchester United. Very nice to contribute my bit to that.”

In red

The soccer players come to Kroon’s for an hour of training two or three times a week. He tailors the training to their club’s program. “When the boys come in, we evaluate the previous training and how they are doing. I do an analysis. Is someone happy or tired? Is something else going on? I always know what’s going on privately.”

“From that perspective, I will select training. And also the situation at the club plays into it. Did they play a game the day before? Then the focus is on recovery. Do they have a quiet week without European soccer? Then we can give a little more gas. You can then think about a solid strength program or focus on explosiveness.”

“The misconception is often that all we do is finish and finish people. That is not the essence of our training. There is a form where people sometimes get into the red and where they get outside their comfort zone. The more often they come under that extreme ‘stress,’ the better they can deal with it and the better their bodies get used to it as well.”

Looking for the upper limit

“My father has been in the business for about fifty years. By trying all kinds of things, we have developed a method that works well. We work at the upper limit of the athlete’s physical and mental capabilities. As a result, you see tremendous development. Because they keep looking for the upper limit, you see that they start to make a difference compared to competitors.”

According to Kroon, that difference can be seen on the field because the players “simply create more content. That allows them to make better choices. You often see that from the 70th minute on, the quality of the game diminishes. Players start making poorer choices because they are not physically fit. We address that.”

Orkun Kökçü, Lutsharel Geertruida and Danilo

A great example Kroon thinks is the development of Kökçü. “I said to Malacia for a very long time that he should bring him along sometime. Everyone could see he was a great talent, but it never came out. He kept ailing with injuries and often played less well from the 60th minute on. It was very inconsistent. This season, on the contrary, he is very consistent.”

Hands itch

Not only Kökçü, but the entire Feyenoord squad looks fitter than the other teams in the premier league this season. Partly because of this, they can decide many matches in the closing stages. Is this partly due to Kroon’s efforts? “That does have to do with the physical conditions, but of course we also have to give that credit to Arne Slot.”

“Slot has also brought a different training method and a different trend at Feyenoord. You do see that the whole group has made steps in that and excels in the last 20, 25 minutes of a game. But I also still see enough players where there are gains to be made and then of course my hands start itching.”

Player’s own team

Kroon hopes that the Netherlands will follow the example of England, for example, where players build their own team around them. “An own performance coach, cook and physio for example. Malacia, too, now has a team around him with specialists who know exactly what works for him and what suits his body.”

“I hope we go there in the Netherlands as well. If you see how much someone like a Cristiano Ronaldo does externally to get better. Then we are a bit crazy in the Netherlands that we are still so much behind and are still so surprised when it does happen.”

Kayleigh Williams