The first twinning projects up and running!

The EHF and KNHB are delighted to announce that the first two of eight projects to twin a Dutch club with an up-and-coming hockey nation have become a reality.

The twinning programme is one of four ambitious strategies developed by the EHF and KNHB in the run up to the European Championships in Amsterdam in August 2017 to support hockey development in the (smaller) European hockey nations.

EHF President, Marijke Fleuren says the twinning project is ‘a dream come true’, while KNHB President Erik Cornelissen says the aim is to ‘contribute to hockey as a world sport by sharing knowledge’.

The two presidents have both been the frontline supporters of the ambitious twinning project that will see nine European Hockey Member Associations linked with eight Dutch clubs as part of the EHF-KNHB Development Programme.

The Development Programme concentrates on four key areas:

  1. Sharing knowledge/resources
  2. ParaHockey
  3. Youth Leadership
  4. Twinning

The twinning programme connects Dutch clubs with European hockey nations. They will cooperate in the areas of coaching, umpiring, officials, youth- and/or club development and event management. The aim is to strengthen each other through sharing and the exchange of knowledge and experiences. The hockey family in action!

Nine EHF Member Associations have been linked to eight Dutch clubs:

The President of the EHF, Marijke Fleuren said: ‘To me the twinning project is a kind of dream come true. I believe in sharing knowledge and learning from each other. I have visited so many clubs all over Europe and listened to their needs and challenges. I am sure that the views and ideas from the one can mean a world of difference for the other. I sincerely thank the KNHB clubs for opening their doors and welcoming European Hockey Federation Member Associations. It will be a lifetime experience for both the European countries and the Dutch clubs themselves. This is the hockey family in action, working together for a better future for our sport.”

The President of the KNHB Erik Cornelissen said: ‘The twinning project supports perfectly two of our strategic pillars: we want to contribute to hockey as a world sport by sharing knowledge and we want to have a positive impact on society.’

The first two twinning projects have already reported on their activities:


On March 30 Push, Belarus and Lithuania officially launched their two-year twinning programme. The Minsk women’s team came by bus to Breda for a training camp and a match against Push. The Lithuanian coaches shadowed Herman Kruis (Push & FIH coach) and talked with members of the club to expand their knowledge in the area of coaching, umpiring, marketing, etc.

In May Push coach Herman Kruis and EHF Development Manager Norman Hughes will conduct a coaching course for Belarusian and Lithuanian coaches in Minsk, Belarus. Belarus boys and girls U18 will be in Minsk to practice. Lithuania girls U18 have also been invited to play matches, so the coaches can analyse their performance. In July, a visit to Push in Breda has been planned for Belarusian and Lithuanian teams and a month later Push coaches will visit Lithuania to share knowledge.

VHC Venlo /Portugal:

Mario Almeida (Technical Director Portuguese Hockey Federation), Madalena Vilar (coach) and Vasco Ribeiro (coach) visited Venlo from March 25 to 27 during their Top Sport Weekend. Vasco and Madelena, two young Portuguese trainers, assisted with a training session of Venlo U14 and U16.  Venlo’s coaches shared knowledge on training methodology and exercises, but also on how to approach relatively ‘young’ teams.

On Friday Venlo gave a presentation on video analysis. On Saturday there was a workshop on the high performance player and on how to train tactics and techniques. Mario Almeida gave a presentation about Portuguese hockey, which made a big impression on everyone as not many realised the challenges hockey in Portugal faces. Both VHC Venlo and the Portuguese Hockey Federation stated that the Top Sport Weekend was a very successful ‘Kick Off’ to their twinning programme.

The other twinning partners are in the process of putting their action plans together.