During the indoor practices of the Dutch National Softball Team in January through March in 2009, Patrick van Balkom is with the team as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
With Jim McCarthy, who also is involved with the team in the same position, Patrick works for the NOC*NSF (Netherlands Olympic Committee), which supports the National Softball Team with this service.
Throughout the indoor sessions, Patrick is with the team on all three days per week it practices (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday).|
Patrick is working for the Netherlands Olympic Committee since July of 2008.
A friend informed him that there was a vacant position, so he decides to sollicitate and gets the job.
Becoming a Strength & Conditioning Specialist is for Patrick something he calls an extension of what he has done himself.
,,This way, I can share my experiences and knowledge with other athletes'', Patrick says.
The first contacts for the Strength & Conditioning program for the Dutch Softball Team went through Jim McCarthy (pictured on the photo at right with Patrick).
Later, Patrick was brought in to coordinate the program during the actual practice sessions.
Patrick: ,,It is fun to work with a young and enthusiastic group who for the most part still can learn a lot regarding strength and velocity training.
Besides that, it is fun to practice with a group of only girls for a difference.''
Before coming to the NOC*NSF, Patrick conducts training sessions in the Czech Republic for male sprinters and a female long jumper, who all belong to the Czech top in their disciplines.
In his first full year as a coach, in 2007, his athletes capture two gold, one silver and one bronze medal during the Czech Championships.
He also accompanies a track & field team as a coach to the European Championships in Göteborg (Sweden) in 2006.
Later in the year, he concludes his own sprinting career by running his last race.
Currently, at the NOC*NSF, Patrick is working with baseball-players, table tennis-players, bicycle-riders, badminton-players, fencers, women volleyball-players and of course the players of the Dutch National Softball Team.
For Patrick, this is a renewed acquaintance with softball, as he played the sport during his study-years while attending the Academy for Physical Education in Tilburg.
Before becoming a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Patrick is a successful sprinter in a 20-year career, which he starts when he is 12 years old at the club DAK Drunen.
Initially, he is doing long jumping, high jumping and sprinting, but after capturing the title of national grass champion on the 100 metres, he decides to focus entirely to sprinting.
While starting for DAK Drunen, he is a member of Hellas Utrecht during the majority of his career.
During his sprinting-career, Patrick participates in several big, international events from 1997 through 2006, like the Universiade (also called World University Championships), European Championships, World Championships, European Cups, Golden Spikes and of course Dutch National Championships.
For all these events, he travels to several countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Portugal, South Africa and Spain.
In 2004, he participates in the Olympic Games in Athens (Greece) with the 4x100 metres relay-team.
After the Olympics, Patrick decides to go to the Czech Republic to train under the guidance of Jana Jilkova.
In his 20-year career, Patrick wins 18 national indoor and outdoor titles in four different distances.
But he also wins the silver medal on the 200 metres during the Universiade (1999) and the bronze medal on the 200 metres during the World Indoor Championships (2001) and the 4x100 metres relay during the 2003 World Championships.
This last accomplishment leads to the team being voted National Sports Team of the Year.
Patrick labels Winning these medals and being named Sports Team of the Year as the highlights in his career.
Regarding strength and conditioning in softball, Patrick states: ,,In softball there is a bigger chance for injuries in the shoulderjoint and besides that, there is a big problem that the body itself is getting a very limited aggravation.
We have to take that into account and prevent that during bthe strength practices.
Conditionwise it is important that one has much acceleration speed, endurance skills are of less importance''.
2011 --- In February, Patrick participates in the first National Team Showcase in Amsterdam (Netherlands) giving a clinic on running techniques.
2009 --- In January, Patrick joins the Dutch National Softball Team as its Strength and Conditioning Specialist during the indoor practice sessions ---
On June 19, he is with the team when it plays its first international game of the season vs. Great Britain in Haarlem.
2006 --- On September 3, Parick concludes his successful 20-year sprinting career by running his last race during the Arena Games in Hilversum (Netherlands).
2004 --- With the successful 4x100 metres relay-team, Patrick participates in the Olympic Games in Athens (Greece), but the team is disqualified due to an irregular relay.
2003 --- In Birmingham (England), Patrick wins the bronze medal on the 200 metres during the World Indoor Championships ---
This year, Patrick also is part of history, as he is a member of the 4x100 metres relay-team (together with Caimin Douglas, Troy Douglas and Timothy Beck) which wins the bronze medal during the World Championships (Outdoor) in Stade de France in Saint-Denis/in Paris (France) ---
For this feat, the team is voted Sports Team of the Year.
2001 --- On March 9, Patrick wins the bronze medal on the 200 metres, running in the Atlantic Pavillion in Lisbon (Portugal) during the World Indoor Championships ---
The time he accomplishes in Lisbon, 20.77, is still a national indoor record.
1999 --- In the Estadio Son Moix on Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Patrick wins the silver medal on the 200 metres during the Universiade.
1997-1998 --- In these two years, Patrick sets three still-standing records during the National Trackcircuit ---
In 1997 (during the inaugural edition of the event), he wins the 300 metres in a record-time of 33.12 and in 1998, he sets a record with 15.51 on the 150 metres ---
Also, in 1998, in Leiden, he is a member of the 4x100 metres relay-team, together with Miguel Janssen, Troy Douglas and Dennis Tilburg, which sets a record with 39.04.
1996 --- Becomes the national Dutch champion on the 100 (indoor/outdoor) and 200 (outdoor) metres.
1995 --- This year, Patrick captures his first medal being a senior, when he finishes in third place on the 200 metres indoors to win the bronze.
1993 --- For the first time, Patrick wins a national championship, being the best on the 100 and 200 metres indoors for juniors.
1991 --- Patrick participates in his first Youth Olympic Days in Brussels (Belgium) and reaches the final in the 100 metres.