On the 19th of August the Dutch National Team under 16 played in the final of the European Championship in the B-division. Unfortunately they lost this game, but they had already played a great tournament and managed to earn a promotion to the A-division for the team. Now, a week after the tournament has finished, Chris van Dinten, the coach of the team, can look back on a successful European Championship.
We had high expectations for the team. Before the tournament, we already stated that we wanted to earn the promotion to the A-Division and become the European Champion.
Our preparation started on the 10th of June. At first, we only practiced in the weekends, but after a few weeks we also practiced on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We played three games against Ireland, Luxemburg and Denmark at a tournament in Luxemburg. After that we played three games against Israel in the Netherlands. Just before the European Championship begun, we played a game in Sofia against Portugal.
The preparation for such a tournament can always be better. In this case, it could have been great if we would have played more games prior to the European Championship. The three games against Israel, which is an Division A country, were a great preparation and helped us a lot. It would be ideal if we could play even more games like this prior to a European Championship.
This is a very talented group of players with a lot of possibilities. Time will tell if they can make it happen. You have to practice a lot and develop a mental hardness to succeed at the highest level. The talent is certainly present. Now, they have to work for it and show that they can make it happen.
Tristan can develop to be a very good player. He has the total package. He is tall, athletic, hangtime, coachable and he can jump. He has a lot to learn, but he has all the skill to be a great player. I am sure we will hear a lot about him in the future!
There is going to be an evaluation on different levels to find out how, in the future, the youth teams can be as prepared as possible for an European Championship. This will be under the guidance of Krijn de Schutter, technical director of the NBB.
There probably was some normal tension among the boys, but it was not different than the rest of the tournament. Generally, this was quite a relaxed group, and towards the start of a game they started focusing on themselves. Most of the boys already have a very professional attitude.
For ten of the players, this was their first European Championship. I think that everyone saw it as a great, educational experience. After we got the promotion, everyone did celebrate. Especially the discharge of the players in the hotel was great to see and I do not think I will forget that soon. I have also said that they have to enjoy, or learn to enjoy, these successes. They did celebrate, but soon the focus went back on the final. As I stated before, the boys already have a professional attitude.