Labeling them dumb is simply a way of not trying to understand their situation, or what they value.

I just red this quote in this article about Trump voters.

Labeling or judging is easy. It’s (to) easy to scream and fall in that trap. But you can also try to understand. Understand a person, their situation, their values, their reasoning. Maybe they aren’t dumb, they are just different from what you are.

By coincidence I found the above quote in a article about Trump voters. The article wasn’t super interesting to me, but this quote stood out. I see it day in and day out: judgement or labeling. If you have the power to take one step away from this, you can step to another level. The one who can understand -other than judge- can also influence or take action based on this understanding and therefore be much more powerful than the judgemental guy.

Frustration can lead to great solutions

What slightly frustrated me lately is scrolling up and down endlessly in the Youtube stream to look up a certain athlete for the ICF World Cups. Does it sound familiar? After a race day I would like to quickly check some runs. But mostly I end up not knowing which stream (A or B) to search in, or where to find the run in the stream. What an inefficiency! So I’ve quickly hacked together a solution 🙂


A few years ago I’ve build out of the experience of needing to click to many times to find live result streams for the major races. So I build a platform gathering all live result links, adding responsive design, mobile specific content, search and social media optimisation, integrating live results and live video, and soon it became the to-go-to platform when looking for live results. But then the ICF restricted it’s content to their website and it was over more or less. I still find it a shame that video and results aren’t combined in one page, but hey, I understand the ICF needs the traffic. So, as you could read in the intro, I experienced a new situation, actually already since a long time…. finally I’ve build a small proof of concept last evening. There is much to improve and add, but it does the basics: you click on an athlete, and it will start playing the video feed from the right timestamp.This proof of concept has a simple listing of the result link with a video link. Future versions could have:
  1. Database to store all races, result data and timestamp
  2. API to communicate between back- and front-end
  3. Integration with Youtube API
  4. Automatic scraping of results
  5. User login to help adding the timestamps
  6. Video or sound recognition to automatically identify the timestamps
  7. Etc….
Let me know what you guys thinks. Based on the feedback I might build it out into a real system. But at the moment all the indexation of the timestamp is a manual process. So I would need people to support on this.So there it is, have a look at

MOOC: Online Learning platforms

Yesterday I wrote this post about the Athlete Learning Gateway and how I like online learning. MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platforms are great. Therefore I wanted to make you a quick list of all the MOOC & online educational platforms I use or know. I will add more platforms and my view on them along the way.


Kahn Academy










iTunes U stands for iTunes University. There is an extensive library of courses. This one is a bit harder to link since it’s within iTunes. When you open iTunes on your computer, then instead of “music” choose, edit menu and click the checkmark in front of “iTunes U”. This will then open the course catalogue.

Athlete Learning Gateway

Although it was already launched last April, it was only today thay I came across the IOC’s athlete learning gateway. Being a big fan of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) I see it as a great innovation by the IOC to start online courses for elite athletes. It can mean a lot for athletes who need to find their way to the Olympus with limited resources or limited knowledge about specific topics. A challenge that I faced during multiple periods in my own Olympic career as well.

As a canoe slalom (white water) athlete in a flat country you can imagine not all the knowledge or resources where available like in the big sport disciplines (and still we did quite well, but that’s another topic). As an athlete I needed to search a lot by myself. When I first made it into the Dutch team I had a really good coach in canoeing, but we didn’t have a team with a nutritionist, sport psychologist, weight trainer or physiotherapist. Neither did we know much about these topics. We did it on best effort. Also to market myself, find sponsors, build a website, etc. All was on best effort with an eagerness to learn and get better.

Being a big fan of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) I see it as a great innovation by the IOC to start online courses for elite athletes.

Another game

Now those topics are another game than 10+ years ago. With the world getting more connected it is getting easier and easier to find and use knowledge from all over the world. You want to extend your skills on a certain topic? You can most certainly find an online course about it. From now on that’s possible as well when it concerns topic related to being an elite athlete. IOC’s Athlete Learning Gateway still offers a limited variety of courses, but I am looking forward to see the course catalogue growing. At this moment courses can be followed on creating an high performance training plan, nutrition, the measures of success, the mindset, avoiding injury and illness, sports media and several topics related to career transition and coaching.

Online learning platforms

I was already a regular user of similar more mainstream platforms such as Coursera, Kahn Acadamy, Codeschool, Codeacadamy, Udemy and Pluralsight. But I am looking forward to also discover this platform. Further I am interested in on which level the platform will develop and extend it’s course base. Coursera and Kahn Academy are academic oriented, Udemy is open to everybody to start teaching a course and codeschool and codecademy offer courses for a specific market (eehr, coding). They also operate a mixed model between free and/or paid courses.

All in all it’s a very interesting development to see a MOOC platform specifically for elite athletes, and I am looking forward to where it will develop to keeping the different models of the abovementioned MOOC or online learning platforms in mind.

Wildwater: metafoor voor het leven

Een kolkende watermassa met daarboven een set poortjes; dat is het decors van mijn sport, kanoslalom. Gedurende een run van ca. 90 seconden gaat het erom de enorme energie van het water optimaal te gebruiken om rakelings door de poortjes te schieten en als snelste over de finish te komen. Dat is een kick.

Robert Bouten in Penrith Australia

Mijn topsportcarrière heeft mij vele belangrijke lessen geleerd. Één daarvan komt voort uit die krachtige watermassa. Wild water is nooit het zelfde. Ook al lijkt een golf een golf, deze is altijd weer anders. Een paar centimer hoger of lager, of de golf verplaatst wat naar links of naar rechts. Er komt een remmend witte schuimkop op de golf of hij vlakt af en werkt als een schans.

Het lezen van je omgeving

Als kanoër ‘las’ ik constant het water in de paar meter voor me en ik voelde hoe het onder tegen mijn boot drukte. Elk kolkje en golfje in de watermassa om mij heen was een mogelijkheid die me snelheid kon geven. Afhankelijk van wat ik zag en voelde paste ik de positie van mijn kano, peddel en lichaam aan om die mogelijkheden van het water te gebruiken en naar het volgende poortje te snellen.

Elk kolkje en golfje in de watermassa om mij heen was een mogelijkheid die me snelheid kon geven.

Mijn kano, peddel en lichaam waren in de sport mijn tools die ik inzette om de mogelijkheden uit het water om te zetten in snelheid en als snelste over de finish te komen. Net zoals ik als kanoër het water vol met mogelijkheden om me heen had, heb je ook in het bedrijfsleven te maken met een omgeving vol mogelijkheden. Die mogelijkheden brengen je echter niet vanzelf sneller naar je doel, net zoals het water. Alleen door de juiste combinatie van tools (zoals kano, peddel en lichaam) en omgevingsbewustzijn (inzicht in het water) zijn die mogelijkheden uit je omgeving daadwerkelijk om te zetten in concrete versnellers.


Op het water waren mijn kano, peddel en lichaam mijn toolbox en mijn techniek gaf mij de finesse en variatie om die toolbox in te zetten. Op het ‘droge’ ziet die toolbox er heel anders uit. Dan is deze veel minder concreet en varieert van persoon tot persoon. Mijn kano of peddel kan voor de één juist een telefoon, of computer zijn, en voor de ander een 3D-printer, scalpel, auto, naald, etc. De techniek kan daar bij bestaan uit interpersoonlijke vaardigheden, praktische skills, pro-activiteit, analytisch vermogen, marktkennis, ervaring, etc.

Ondanks bovenstaande verschillen is het principe tussen beide omgevingen het zelfde. Er zijn vele mogelijkheden waar je omgevingsbewustzijn voor nodig hebt om ze te herkennen. En je moet je bewust zijn van je tools om de mogelijkheden ook te gebruiken. Die mogelijkheden heb ik altijd als touwtjes gezien die losjes in je handen liggen. Welke touwtjes heb jij eigenlijk in je handen? Het zijn er vaak meer dan je denkt. Het is wel zaak ze eens goed vast te pakken en aan te trekken!

PAIN is just French for bread

There was one training, one test that was so heavy, that already before starting you knew that at the end you would be throwing up or seeing black spots. You would be in pain no matter how fit you were.

Pain is just French for bread


Once in a while we did this test in our canoes to test our strength, fitness and limits. It was just in a straight line. Paddle up the river for about 100m and paddle down again. But with resistance around the boat so that every stroke would drive you only half the length forward as it would normally do.

Already days before you knew this test was coming, and you knew it was going to hurt…. hurt bad. Or maybe it would not just hurt, you would be throwing up as well. Or after crossing the finish you would be holding the bank so dear as if it was your girlfriend, just in order not to tip over in the water because your head was spinning and black spots emerged in front of your eyes.

Paradigm shift

But then one day I was stuck in traffic and read this on the number plate in front of me:

PAIN is just French for bread

Reading this ment a paradigm shift for me, it was a ‘mindfuck’. I always associated this training with pain, in the English sense of the word. It was a negative association. But why wouldn’t I associate it with pain in the French since of the word: bread. I liked the French bread (pain), and even more the ‘pain ou noix‘. It’s delicious! So why shouldn’t I associate this training with deliciousness instead of hurt?

Since that moment I approached this training in an entirely different way. No more loss of negative energy, but a positive association. The training itself was just as hard, just as painful. But changing the entire idea towards it already made a great difference.

Your association

This taught me that it’s mostly your association with a certain event that makes it a difficult event. Not the event itself. I applied this paradigm shift to a training session, but it can be applied to many things in life. So just stop for a while and think of an event where you always look up to in a negative way. While you can’t change the event itself, it’s your choice where you associate it with. And you can be strong enough to chose for another association!