“Playing style provides more sprint meters” at SC Cambuur


Nicky Boonstra (27) is Performance coach at SC Cambuur. He started in the Youth Academy of SC Cambuur as a team coach and eventually made the switch to the physical part. In 2018 he started with the first selection. In the 2021-2022 season, SC Cambuur can play again in the Eredivisie after an absence of 5 years. Where the folk club from Leeuwarden belongs. A lot of points are now being taken and it looks like the yellow-blues will be active again next year at the highest level. Since this season, the JOHAN V6 system has been used.

How was the transition from the Keuken Kampioen Division to the Eredivisie?

After two seasons of the Keuken Kampioen Division with this staff and almost the same selection, we have of course been able to take great steps individually and as a team. During this period we worked with JOHAN Sports. You can see that we have certainly made progress in the field of data. You can mainly see this in the intensity, pace and scope of competitions & training sessions. JOHAN Sports has helped us a lot with monitoring.

Do you also see a difference in volume and intensity between Keuken Kampioen Division and the Eredivisie? For example, did you start training differently?

Yes, we have certainly adapted our training strategy to it. We are now more on the intensity of exercise forms. We focus specifically on that. The sprint distances of more than 25 km per hour are particularly important in this respect. The playing style has largely remained the same, but you can see that in the Eredivisie more is asked of players in terms of intensity. That makes sense of course.


Nicky Boonstra explaining warm-up exercise – Foto: Henk Jan Dijks Fotografie

How exactly do you train for that? What does your training week look like?

As mentioned, we mainly look at intensity. This has been incorporated into the entire training week. The size (i.e. how many sprint meters you make) is specifically set aside in the week. The moment we have had a day off, we always start with a start-up training. Then we train a lot in small spaces and the emphasis is mainly on acceleration, deceleration and dueling. After that, we actually start training in large rooms around the middle of the week. Then we again pay close attention to its intensity. For example, how much rest is there between the sprint meters? We just want less rest between sprints so that they get used to a higher intensity than the competition.

Do you have closed exercises for this? Regular sprints or in a practice form?

We try to do as much exercise as possible. In long games we make sure that the players get less rest. We then remove throw-ins and goal kicks from the training form, for example. Then you see in the preparation of the match that that specific load goes down to be able to play the match fresh.

Our training week in terms of sprint meters is, as it were, a pyramid shape. The peak is about three or four days before the race.

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Nicky Boonstra leading the group warm up – Foto: Henk Jan Dijks Fotografie

I once received an article from you about SC Cambuur being number 3 in the number of sprints during a competition (in Europe). This is of course a great compliment. This gives you the condition to perform well at a high level. The higher the level, the more sprint meters are made. Are you so high on this because you train a lot on it or are there other important aspects?

The biggest cause of having a lot of sprint meters is our playing style. There is a lot of demand for patterns or templates in some positions to make a lot of sprint meters. This applies to both attacking and defending. It is important that players can keep up during the matches but also throughout the season. You can see that our players take very good care of their bodies and that is a big compliment. Read the article here!

During the week you use the pyramid shape. Is there variation per week? Suppose you have 1 match per week for 4 consecutive weeks.

We would like to keep the same structure for the week to keep track of the progress and put it away. One day we want to play in large spaces and the next in smaller ones. It does depend on which match day you have to play. Sometimes you have to scroll based on the program.

The three biggest parameters we pay attention to are total distance, sprint distance, acceleration and deceleration. We try to put them away and monitor them properly.

What do you think of the JOHAN V6 so far?

Since this season we have been working with the JOHAN V6. First we used the V4. In the beginning we received an extensive explanation/presentation. We now also have live data and that was an explicit wish of ours. We wanted to add this during competitions and training. In the beginning you saw that it was a new product, but soon the product improved. Over time, it has become the perfect complement. The live monitoring also helps us to better understand exercises. The download of the data is well processed and is completed immediately when you step off the field, ideal.

How would you characterize the system with 3 points?

Firstly, efficient because the processing of the data runs smoothly. The V6 is also resilient. It is made of sturdy material and does not break easily. It can absolutely take a beating. And don’t forget the live data.

How do you use live data during training and competitions?

We mainly use it during training. This allows us to keep track of the load in size and intensity. We gain more insight into the exercises, so that we can improve the training sessions. This has been a very valuable addition. I then link the live data to the trainers so that they are also informed.

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Nicky Boonstra explaining exercises at SC Cambuur – Foto: Henk Jan Dijks Fotografie

How do you stimulate the group of players to achieve the right result?

Our current group has been together for a longer period of time and in that regard is characterologically well put together. We need to slow down rather than encourage our players. We are all aware of the fact that we at SC Cambuur will have to work very hard to get results against clubs with more money and possibilities.

How do you like playing in the Eredivisie so far and how can player data help you in the future?

It took us two seasons to play in the Eredivisie and for us that is a wonderful challenge in all respects that we are tackling with both hands. You notice in everything that it is a higher level and a larger platform. If we stick to the seventeenth budget, then we will have become champions, as Henk always said. Player data mainly helps us in raising awareness among the players, but of course in monitoring fitness and the structure of the training sessions.

What are the advantages of the JOHAN Sports Platform?

First, it is very user-friendly. It is clear and you can easily adjust your data and your measurements. In addition, encoding and exporting to various files is quite easy. You can also easily see in the JOHAN Platform what the training sessions looked like physically and you can select the various parameters yourself. Advice is even given based on the data in the system. Clear bar charts are provided that support us well. We are very satisfied with this. We communicate these graphs again to the trainers.

Some coaches place great value on intensity. If an exercise form is done, it is easy to combine other days. You could show all the numbers there. JOHAN Sports has helped us a lot with the V6 version to better understand our exercises and to do better research.

How much time does it save you compared to the V4?

It saves me at least 15 to 20 minutes per day. If you add this up per week, that’s quite a lot. Automatic upload saves the most time. This is a big win for a small organization. We now have time to discuss more and better report on additional cases.

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