Shorttrack coach Boomstra in discord, American union keeps trust

Dutch short track trainer Wilma Boomstra is accused by several athletes of cross-border behaviour. That’s what the Washington Post writes. Boomstra is coach of the American team.

Other describe how they lost the fun in training and sports by the approach of Boomstra. “It felt like I was throwing my life away.”

Many athletes have lost confidence in Boomstra. “If at least half of the team recognizes these practices, an alarm should go off,” says a skater.

The union says it is investigating the cases, but for the time being it is not taking any measures against Boomstra. However, they are working to improve the relationship with her skaters.

“We believe that Wilma is technically and tactically one of the best coaches in the world”, says Ted Morris, director of the U.S. skating association. “We can all improve in certain areas. We would like to help her improve. If she doesn’t, we’ll make a decision.”

In a reaction Boomstra states that the research gives her the opportunity for self-reflection in order to better communicate with the athletes.

‘You’re walking on a thin line’

“She has a hard approach”, says former shorts tracker Niels Kerstholt, who trained under Boomstra in the past and worked with her at the regional training centre Utrecht.

“It’s a very difficult discussion, coaches are everywhere under the magnifying glass. You want to establish a performance culture, but you walk on a thin line, that’s what she says. That’s tricky.”

Kerstholt: “I know it’s a physically demanding programme, but it can also be difficult mentally. A lot of top athletes come to the surface because of it, she has proven that. Some can’t cope with that way of working, others only work harder.”

“Part of the team doesn’t like this way of coaching. Then the question is how to reinvent yourself as a coach.”

In 2016 the CCeit made a portrait of Wilma Boomstra.