The Netherlands have been performing at the highest sporting level for decades. Look at the number of sportspeople who have made it to the highest podium – even compared to big countries like USA, China, Germany and Great Britain, Dutch athletes are doing very well. Champions who have made the pride of the Netherlands, such as judokas from Anton Geesink to Kim Polling, kickboxers such as Ernesto Hoost and Rayen Simson, Richard Krajicek and teams where I am thinking particularly of the national hockey teams, who have won many titles for both men. and women. It’s a random selection from an almost endless series.
Max Verstappen is the latest in a long line of successful Dutch athletes. He was motivated from an early age and developed a winning mentality that he put into action. And when the opportunity presented itself, he seized the opportunity to make history. Because that’s what you train for as an athlete: make the most of it, break records, win prizes, lose, and when everyone’s already written you off come back even stronger. Always find a reason to be the best version of yourself.
The football world can learn a lot from this. But in the sport where the most money is at stake, it is often more difficult than in other sports to naturally develop and maintain a winning mentality.
Opportunities to make history don’t come very often, but they are easier to grab when you are comfortable with the mindset of winning, if it’s in your DNA. Verstappen seized the opportunity, and it will make a big difference in the rest of his career. If this opportunity had not presented itself, nothing would have happened. Then the disappointment about his second place and his absence for the world title may not have been great, as he had done all he could to win. Unfortunately, it would only have been if he had seen this final opportunity but hadn’t tried to pass Lewis Hamilton at the very last minute. Seeing and seizing opportunities, that’s what it is.
The Dutch national team were able to qualify for the World Cup against Montenegro last month, but surprisingly gave a 2-0 lead. It was such an opportunity, and the Netherlands missed it. Fortunately, there was one last chance to qualify for Qatar 2022, and Orange grabbed it against Norway. The match against Montenegro remains an interesting study material. If I were Louis van Gaal, with this game in mind I would work even more specifically on the mindset to capitalize on the opportunities: whether it’s chances to score, giving a deep pass with risk or any other way. a good result to be forced. It could ultimately make all the difference to come home with the World Cup next year. Max Verstappen has shown that it is possible – if you believe in it and cultivate that winning mentality. Of course, you also need to be lucky, but with the right attitude you’ll automatically force this.
Clarence Seedorf is a former football player. He is now an entrepreneur, philanthropist and guest speaker.
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