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2019 Men’s World Championship 2019 Men’s World Championship
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Date: 8/9/2018

Netherlands’ coach Ricardo Clarijs is in his first world championship as a head coach and already has his first win – a 33:30 win over Japan in their opening preliminary group C match, he tells IHF.info about the preparation for his team and how he coaches his young team.

IHF.info: What was it like to finally start the championship?

Ricardo Clarijs: This is something we have worked for over the whole year and the girls are really excited to play their first match which you could see in the first 10 minutes as they were a little bit shaky.

But after that they played very, very well with all their hearts and they are team that wants to fight for each other and together - for me as a coach that’s great to see and it’s really, really exciting.

IHF.info: How did you manage the mental anticipation and mix of emotions ahead of your team playing their first match?

Ricardo Clarijs: As a coach you need to make your players eager to play sometimes but you also need to tell them that it is just the first match and a tournament is step-by-step.

Going into the match we didn’t know much about Japan as we only had a match from them from about a year ago, but that’s how we prepared and the rest of it we did on court and we did well.

They played really well with their left back (Ayame Okada) in the first half but with some changes in our defence and the mindsets of our players changing we became better in the second half.

IHF.info: You are a very vocal and active coach on the sidelines, throughout the whole game you were moving up and down, in constant communication with your whole side – why is that important for you?

Ricardo Clarijs: It’s not important for me, but the players say they like it. They like the enthusiasm and they want to know if they are doing good and if they are doing bad. I am a coach that wants to tell them when they are doing good because when they feel they are doing good they are growing.

But sometimes I say too much (laughs) - the director of sport says that (laughs and points at the director standing close by). But when it goes OK everyone is happy and when it is not going well you need to think about how to improve and change things and I need to think if I am giving too much information and then take a step back.

IHF.info: When Beau de Boer dinked a shot over the Japan goalkeeper in the 44th minute to make it 23:20 to your side, you and your team celebrated wildly, why was that?

Ricardo Clarijs: It was the moment when the goal was scored, Zoe Sprengers is one of our better players in defence but got a little injured, so Beau came in and the first ball she had, she threw it in the net like that – it was nice to see, and we were really delighted.

IHF.info: But a coach knows there is always something to improve, so what do you want to do better for your next match, against Norway?

Ricardo Clarijs: They will be a totally different match for us and we need to see where can put our specific strengths to their way of play. I guess in the defence with the one-on-one there are some improvements for our players in how they are standing and when they are going to tackle - the timing, so that’s something we will train on, but it’s also something we can grow with during a tournament. They already grew between the first and second halves against Japan.

IHF.info: What is your opinion on developing players at this age in tournaments, versus winning at all costs?

Ricardo Clarijs: When we are playing at a world championship of course we want to win but, in the preparation, analysis and training before we develop all the players as we need them all – some play more, some play less, but altogether we are developing the whole year.

IHF.info: What do you learn as coach from playing unfamiliar teams and styles?

Ricardo Clarijs: What I learned against Japan is their one-on-one attack variation and Okada was very nice to watch - her side step and acceleration are the things in our European ‘power’ handball are the things that are becoming less important, but I hope it will come back as it is nice to see.