Interview: Floortje Meijners (in collaboration

1st part: FLOORTJE FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE PRESENT (Sports and Private Life)

Can you tell us something about your life, your family and your childhood in the Netherlands?

I was born in Oldenzaal, in the east of Holland, a place near Enschede. I went to a primary school in Oldenzaal from age four until eleven. From age eleven to eighteen, I went to a secondary school, also in Oldenzaal. I lived with my parents until last year. In August, my whole life changed. I did the same things as before but my environment was changing. I went to Amsterdam! I went to the club HCCNet Martinus Amstelveen, so another team. Second, I lived with a teammate, and not with my parents and brother. Third, I changed my school. I have chosen a course and I go through the trainings to the university to study Bedrijfswetenschappen, in the direction of Economics. I can say now, that Im very happy with my choice!

How, when and why did you start playing volleyball?

Ehm, my parents both played volleyball. And in my youth, we played it all the time on the street. When I was seven, me and my neighbor friends wanted to play volleyball. But the problem was that it was only possible until we reach the age of nine. So we were training and playing on our own hihi. So, when I was nine, I started playing at a volleyball club in Oldenzaal, called Arke-Pollux.

Who had the biggest influence in your volleyball career?

I think, in the first place, its my self. It may sound strange, but I think theres nothing without your own motivation! But my parents were also very important influences. They helped me all the time. And my trainers were very important all the time especially Avital Selinger. Im sure he is the best trainer Ive ever had. He knows a lot about volleyball and he gives me the opportunity to learn a lot.

You started playing in your national team early, at only 17. Do you want to tell us something about that experience maybe telling us the most striking moments of your adventure in national team?

I will, at age seventeen, I was part of the team with a tournament in Almelo. This place is near Oldenzaal so that was doubly special. In January, I became eighteen and that summer was the first summer I played with national senior team. Years before that, I played in the Youth national team, so Ive had a little bit of experience with national teams. But there is so much difference between being an old and experienced player and a young player. Both have difficulties, but I think you can learn from both experiences. But the phase I was and am where I am now is looking up to my other teammates and all the time, being surprised of the level of play. But on the tournaments this summer, I was also very surprised about the other teams especially the height. If there was a moment that I could attack one or maybe two balls when I came in the court I didnt now what to do anymore. Its so wonderful how some players jump, attack, have control. I look forward to this summer playing against the best teams of the world.

The most striking moments are the moments that we played against such good teams such as Russia, China, Brazil, Cuba and Italy. It was and still is special to see them playing.

Last summer you were selected to play in Martinus Amstelveen, with all the best Dutch players and this season you won the national league and the cup. Would you like to share with us your emotions and impressions about this winning season?

Ehm, last season was not with all the best Dutch players of the Netherlands because 6 players of the national team stayed outside the country (Japan, Italy, Germany and Spain). It was wonderful that we won the national league and the cup. Most expectations from the people in Holland came true but it is difficult, because everybody has a high level of expectation. So, not all the time you can play at your best. But one thing was for sure, we prepared and played every match, it doesnt matter against which team, for more than 100 percent. So that is a point Avital told us, it doesnt matter if its a training, the first match of the competition, the last match of the competition or the final of the cup, he said; every day is important, not less or more than another day. And that is the reason why we are learning a lot and growing as a team! But if I look back at last season, I feel happy. I didnt play every match, so sometimes I was a little bit frustrated, but I accept and understand Avitals choice. And I was and am happy with my choice of continuing to study, because school was a big help for me during those moments.


What are the advantages / disadvantages of playing with most of your teammates in the Dutch Team in the same club team you are playing for now?

I think the advantages exceed the disadvantages. We train and play matches with each other, so we know each other better and better. We can learn a lot from each other. And we all have the same target and you can reach more goals with the team than being on your own.
One disadvantage is that we are with each other for the whole year. Sometimes I feel happy when we had a couple of days without training and we didnt see each other for that period.

The Boris Yeltsin Cup, the Grand Prix and then, finally the World Championships… a long and hard summer for your national team… how do you approach this new adventure?

We started with our training on the 8th of May. And a big part of the team know each other for years. This summer is not different from other summers. Last summer, it was very intense, now, we have between all the matches and tournaments also 2 weeks of nothing. So I think that this is a good motivation for everyone. And we just go for it, good preparation and go for 200 percent.

Avital Selinger is your coach in the club and in the national, how did he influence you to improve your game?

He is a man who is a perfectionist. So, on a technical scale, he has a big influence on all the girls. And mentally also, he knows what we need and say it at the right moment. Every time when he gives me an advice, most of the time a technical one, I see it as an advantage. And also, I think every time it can be better. So Im not easily satisfied, Im talking about myself. This is approximately in line with the perfectionism of Avital. But if its your first time, your own motivation, drive and spirit is the most important thing and after that the trainer has the big influence.

Your national team is young but already competitive, which is the starting point of your team in view of the World Championships in Japan?

Our starting point is being a team. We have to miss Francien Huurman this summer. She is a wonderful and important player so it is a change for everyone. So, because of that, it is important that we are a team and replace her position as good as possible. I have trust in it, so after that we have to train and play matches a lot so that we are going to grow as not only as individuals but also as a team.

Have you got any role model (a player which you look up to)?

I think a lot of players are good; I dont have one special role player. I have respect for people who are not so tall, but have such a good ball handling. But also players who have a specialty like attacking hard and high, I like to see them playing.



What are your main targets for your career in the future?

The main target for me is to maximize everything. And with it, I mean not only in volleyball, but also in my school. Until now, I try to combine both, because I like them both and they are important in my life. And then I have my targets inside volleyball and inside my study; in Volleyball, to qualify for the Olympics Games. Being there, that would be wonderful!

If you were to choose another position to play on the Dutch team, what position would it be?

Ehm, before my injury of four weeks ago, I played on the outside, because Chaine Staelens also had an injury. My dream is to play on that position. Because on the diagonal it is less complex and on the outside you can pass. I would like to learn that so that would be the position I choose. And last year, I played a little, on two matches as middle. I prefer the attacking on the middle, but blockingmmmit is difficult.

Which aspects of your game (skills, attitude, etc.) that you want to improve more and why?

I really want to try to improve everything. Reception, defense and Reaction are the things I want to develop but also attacking, serving, and setting. So, I want to improve everything especially my reception, defense and reaction because those three skills are my weakest points.

Have you ever considered the possibility of playing in Italy? Do you prefer any team in particular?

I dont know how it is like to play as an outsider in Italy, but whenever I hear the experiences from Dutch people who have played in Italy, they are most of the time very positive. So I think it would be a wonderful experience. The level is very high. Theres a big difference if you compare with the Dutch competition. Ehm, last year we played against Chieri with HCCnet Martinus. So I only know that team a little bit. I cannot give my opinion, because I cant compare with other Italian teams.

Imagine you can make a wish for the future… which one would you choose?

Poeh, there are a lot things that I would like to wish for but the most important is that people in my environment are happy and healthy!



Do you have any pre-game habits/superstitions?

Ehm no, I really dont believe in superstitions. So I prepare myself before every match, but there are no special things I do every time.

There is one thing that is very important for me and my performance, the music before and during the warming-up and match!! Sometimes the sound is so bad in the sport hall. And sometimes there is perfect music and then it has a big influence on me.

Have you got any hobby in your free time?

I like studying, I like meeting friends and family, I like shopping (especially in Amsterdam) and I like going out very much!

Is there any future project, a part from volleyball, which you want to share with us?

I dont like looking forward. I will just see everything as it happens. For volleyball, I want to get the best out of it. And with my studies, its also the same. There may be a moment that I have to make a choice in a couple of yearsbut we will see.

What has been your most memorable traveling experience with the national team?

Last summer the World Grand Prix, the qualification tournaments for the World Championship and for the Grand Prix. But also the European Championship. They are all very impressive tournaments for me, because it was the first season I was selected for the senior national team. And I dont have one most memorable traveling experience.

Who are you closest to in the Dutch team and why?

I like everybody in our team. And it is a special subject in our team, because everyone likes each other. I like Caroline Wensink the most, because of her mentality, and Carlijn Jans, she was my teammate in the youth national team.

Thanks Floortje for taking the time to to allow us this insight into your life on and off the court.
From all at Volleypics and also to for their help with interview.