‘The team makes the individual stronger.’ Bas de Bever – Olympic coaches interviewed Episode 25

Bas de Bever successful Mountain Biker, and BMX racer as an athlete, and successful Head Coach of the Dutch National BMX for 4 Olympic cycles.

I had the pleasure of working with Bas de Bever for 9 years, and there were two things that have always impressed me. How did he manage to have his athletes at the top of the world for over a decade? And second, why was there so little drama in the group, and how did he create a team of athletes, that work for each other, even though they compete in an individual sport and are actually rivals in the competitive arena.

Next to that we discuss

Christian: In this interview, it’s my pleasure to interview Bas de Bever who was nominated by Raymon van der Biezen in a previous interview. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Bas for the last 9 years as a strength and conditioning support during his role as a head coach for the Dutch National BMX team. Bas has been such a successful athlete himself, and if we believe Wikipedia Bas won ‘all there was to win in BMX’.

Bas: I haven’t won everything, but I had a lot of accomplishments in BMX.

Christian: Bas was third at the World Championships in Mountain Bike in 1996, and retired from professional cycling in 2003, and started as a Head Coach for the Dutch National BMX Team after his professional cycling career.

In his role as a head coach for the Dutch National BMX team, he is currently in his fourth Olympic cycle.

In my opinion, Bas’ accomplishments in this role can best be illustrated by a statement of Double Olympic Champion in BMX Supercross Maris Strombergs, who gave an interview after his recent retirement and was asked who he sees as the next athlete to follow in his footsteps. In his answer, he named 3 athletes and said ‘the Dutch team’.

I guess that says enough.

Welcome, Bas.

Bas: Thanks for the invitation.

Bas’ darkest moment

Christian: In your life as an athlete or coach, what was your darkest moment?

Bas: I don’t try to look at my sporting career or coaching career and emphasize on these darkest moments or best moments. Obviously, these moments do exist, and you can look at them in terms of the results, but you could also look at them based on the processes that led up to these results, and that’s what I normally do.

I don’t look at my sporting career or coaching career and emphasize these darkest moments or best moments. Obviously, these moments do exist, and you can look at them in terms of the results, but you could also look at them based on the processes that led up to these results.

But if you ask me the question, “What’s your darkest moment?”, obviously, Jelle’s crash which happened earlier this year is the first thing that pops up.

But then going back to results there are a few things, there was World Championships in Holland in 2014, where no Elite man made it to the final.  That’s not really what you want on your home turf at World Championships. I could name a few results that were disappointing, but I like to focus on the process, so if that doesn’t work the results don’t come.

In the 15 years that I’ve been doing this, you’re working on that process every day. So, every day there is a dark moment and every day there is a good moment. But in the context of the question that you’ve asked me, Jelle’s accident is by far the darkest moment.

Every day there is a dark moment and every day there is a good moment. But in the context of the question that you’ve asked me, Jelle’s accident is by far the darkest moment.

Christian:  How did you recover from that moment?

Bas: It was a tough one, a really tough one, first and foremost for Jelle himself. Working with him for 10 years created a bond and then this happens, and I see what’s happening with Jelle and everything he went through from that moment until today, the first six months especially were hell. I hardly slept, it’s constantly on my mind. But as weird as it sounds, Jelle’s recovery and his outlook on his own life, had helped me to take it all in and process it my way so that I can now be at a point where life continues and we’re moving on and we’re back on the track again, but it was a tough one.

Christian: For those who are watching, Jelle van Gorkom is one of our athletes and he had a really terrible crash in practice, which resulted in him being in a coma for a few weeks and in Intensive Care. It was a life-threatening incident, but he is now recovering. He was the one who brought us a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and one and a half years later he had that terrible crash which has possibly made him unable to ride again on a competitive level.

Bas: It was a life-changing moment for him, for sure.

Christian:  It was a tough one for Bas, myself, and the many people involved in Jelle’s life and career. Also, during that process, not only did you have to deal with Jelle’s accident, but there was also a liability question with you regarding the duty of care.

Bas: Yes, there was. That is now off the table. Insurance companies are now working out a deal, if you can call it that, on how to support Jelle from here going forward and that’s all happening in the background.

Christian: Over the years that I’ve worked with you, you have gone through many challenges. You have made decisions, which every coach does and then people turned around and accused you of things you haven’t done. I believe those must have been difficult moments for you?

Bas: Yes. If you mean during the lead up to the London 2012 Olympics, when we had selected our female rider to represent us at the Olympic Games, then yes, that was a tough one. The fast was, that there was only one spot available, and therefore only one woman could go, and we decided on one of the two girls who was qualified in a particular event. The other girl didn’t agree, so she went to court to check if we went through the whole procedure correctly, and we did. But yes, moments like that are not the most pleasurable ones.

Christian: How did you keep your confidence during those moments? It would be very easy to throw in the towel and tell them to just do it alone.

Bas: Yes, it would be easy to give up but that’s not me. I always set goals for myself. I did that when I was an athlete and I still do so in my job and role as a coach. If I can’t get to my goal a particular way, I’ll try to reach the goal through another way.

  • Check out the interview with Silver Medalist Matthijs Büchli, who also explains, that the biggest lesson he learned, was that there are many ways to get to your goal.

I’m not knocked out of the field that easily. But that’s who I am that’s a part of my character. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hit me or doesn’t hurt me, it does. But I take one, two or three steps back and instead of looking at the one incident that’s going on or the one thing that’s giving the negative energy. I look at the whole picture and soon enough I get my positive energy back again.

It would be easy to give up but that’s not me. I’m not knocked out of the field that easily.

Plus working with athletes every day that are very driven in their goals and very talented gives me positive energy. So, if something negative comes by, it sucks, you deal with it and you try to move on. What helped, as I said, is definitely the athletes you work with and the supporting staff around you, even you yourself, we see each other in the weights room a couple of times per week.

Working with athletes every day that are very driven in their goals and very talented gives me positive energy.

And it’s also the way that you present yourself towards the athlete which gives the athletes and me confidence and positive energy. And that goes for everyone involved in a sports program, and in this case the BMX program.  Sometimes there are hard decisions to be made and hard consequences which follows. It’s not easy, but try to look for that positive energy and move on.

Bas’ best moment

Christian: What was your best moment?

Bas: I can name a few results that were really good over the last 15 years. In this case, as I had said for the darkest moment, it’s the process that really attracts my attention.

I can name a few results, but it’s the process that really attracts my attention.

Results could be Niek’s [Kimmann] World Championship as a first-year elite in 2015, it could be the Cruiser Championship in Australia in 2009, European Championships, World Cup wins, World Cup titles, just results that we have accomplished over the year. But the underlying process before you get to that result is more interesting to me. And what goes for the darkest moment goes for the best moments, I try to find one every day or every week, every block of training, stuff like that.

Christian: One thing I have always really admired about you was, that even in the moments of defeat you could always find something positive that helped you to take the next step and move on.

Bas: Yes, but that’s also my biggest downfall, I think. I always look at things from my character, from who I am, and the glass is always half-full. Obviously, that helps to give you positive energy, but it sometimes makes you deny the bad things, that you have to deal with personally or as an athlete.

I always look at things from my character, from who I am, and the glass is always half-full.

But in general, I always try to look at the negatives but really try to find the positives and connect them to my next move to improve the athlete.

His advice to a younger Bas de Bever

Christian: If you could go back in time 10, 15 or 20 years, what advice would you give your younger self?

Bas: I would tell my younger self that these processes, that we’ve been talking about, take time. I’m a very impulsive person. I started out as a coach 15 years ago. I was an athlete for 25 years before that, and at that time, as an athlete, it was just me. When you’re an athlete, the world revolves around you; at least that’s what you think. So, if a decision was to be made, I would make one and then five minutes later we would go that way. But as a coach, it’s a bit different. You still have your own views and philosophies, but you have to deal with 10, 15 athletes who are way younger with totally different personalities.

When I was an athlete, it was just me, I made a decision, and 5 minutes later, this would be the way forward. But as a coach, it’s different, you deal with 10 or 15 athletes, so starting a process takes much longer.

I would tell younger Bas to be aware, that these processes take time and don’t try to force these processes to happen within a week’s time. That’s the biggest advice I would give myself.

Bas’ coaching philosophy

Christian: What’s your coaching philosophy?

Bas: That has always been a difficult question. We’re working in an individual sport. BMX is an individual sporting event. In the end, it’s about the one athlete and in what position he crosses the line. In order to help that guy or girl to cross that line first or earn a podium spot you can train and coach one on one with him or her, but you can also put them in a structure where the whole team is bigger than the individual. In other words, a team makes the individual stronger. That is pretty much one of the philosophies that I live by.

The team makes the individual stronger.

Christian: You have reiterated over the years that the individual needs the team to be stronger.

Bas: In my opinion, yes. I’m sure there are other examples out there. We worked with Laura Smulders for a few years. She went through our talent development program and then she got in our high-performance program under my coaching. But she found out three and a half years ago, that this environment at Papendal and our way of coaching didn’t really fit her personality. So, she decided to set up her own team structure and voila, here she is. I think she has won pretty much every race she has entered this year. I’m not saying that the way I look at things and coach people is the best for everyone, so if someone decides to move on and look for things that will make them better, that is only good.

I’m not saying that the way I look at things and coach people is the best for everyone, so if someone decides to move on and look for things that will make them better, that is only good.

Bas’ core values

Christian: What are your core values?

Bas: My core values include openness, communicating with each other, giving an athlete the feeling that she or he can always be herself or himself within the group of people that we work with daily.

Openness, communicating with each other, and giving an athlete the feeling that she or he can always be herself or himself within the group of people that we work with daily.

They need to be able to express themselves even though their teammates might not agree. There should never be a barrier which would not ensure you could not be your true self. I think that is a really important value to work with daily. There is a whole list, but that would take you into cliché values. But for me what I’m just trying to say is communication is an important one.

Christian: Over the last few years I have observed that you have always disclosed the truth, you are very honest. As soon as issues arise you deal with them immediately and express your thoughts about the situations and people tend to take that very positively.

Bas: Yes, that’s exactly who I am. If there is a problem, I like to grab it, shake it and move on instead of just let it rot for weeks or months, and then it just gets bigger and gets put out of context and out of proportion. and placed out of context. Why not deal with it right away?

If there is a problem, I like to grab it, shake it and move on.

And then me telling things as they are, as I see them, that also could be a downfall, some people could not take that very well. But like you said, it seems like people in general respect the openness, and I think that’s a good thing.

Obviously, by being open you risk being criticized, but that’s good because that gives us the opportunity for a discussion and in the end that could or should improve a situation.

By being open you risk being criticized, but that’s good because that gives us the opportunity for a discussion and in the end that could or should improve a situation.

Yes, I like to be as open as I can, which I really had to learn or teach myself, because by nature I’m a very closed off person. I tend to keep my emotions to myself, especially when I was younger. And that resulted that drop by drop the bucket was filling up with water until that one drop that would make the bucket full, and spills over. That was when I, I exploded, especially when I was younger.

So, I taught myself to be open. And in this job, I had to do that because you’re responsible for other athletes and not just yourself anymore. So, I had to learn and teach myself to be open and speak about my emotions, and that was a bit rough in the beginning but I think I picked it up quite well.

How using MBTI has helped his coaching

Christian: MBTI has always been a part of your coaching philosophy. How does that help you?

Bas: When I started coaching 15 years ago the NOC [National Olympic Committee], had their Masters Coach program which I attended, and I think I was in the second class. The red threat to that whole coaching class was Action Typing or MBTI, which can simply be explained by characterizing people and capturing their character in four letters.

Action Typing or MBTI, which can simply be explained by characterizing people and capturing their character in four letters.

Back then it was like magic to me because one day I was an athlete and the next day I was a coach. All this information you get at the beginning is a lot and you couldn’t really prioritize one thing over the other. Action typing was a red threat and as I said, it was a bit confusing, but through that coaching clinic I grew closer to the concept and I really dove into it and tried to figure out what it really means. After three or four years, I think, I had gotten a very good handle on MBTI or action typing, those types of character typing, and I usually did it in my coaching.

The best way to say it is, if I know you, by using those letters to characterize you, I can say, “He thinks along these lines.” And so, if I want to tell you something, I would have to bring it in a way that fits your character. If you know how I am, that makes our collaboration a lot easier. And also taking it back to the athlete level, there are a bunch of different characters and if someone reacts to a certain situation in a certain way, the other athlete is like, “What? Why did he do it?” If he knows how he or she thinks, that makes things easier in coaching.

Having said that, that’s also the hardest thing to do, especially with young athletes. They get into our program at 14, 15 or 16 years old. If I sit down with them and say, “Hey, listen, we’re going to do an MBTI test.” They’re like, “What?”  So, it’s a tough one and it takes time, but once it lands with an athlete, I think it makes working with athletes and staff a lot easier.

The best way to say it is, if I know you, and I want to tell you something, I would have to bring it in a way that fits your character. If you know how I am, that makes our collaboration a lot easier.

Christian: How do you determine that? Do you give them a questionnaire?

Bas: There are different ways. If you Google MBTI or Action Typing, generally you get different choices, you get the short list questionnaire and the intermediate. I think the shortest has 20 questions, then there’s one with 40 questions and then there is one with 100 or something like that. If you really want to go in-depth you go for the one with a hundred questions. And then you take the information off it. Like I said before, it’s just general information for me on how to approach an athlete.

The person that has influenced Bas de Bever most

Christian: Which person has influenced you the most and why?

Bas: I’m a person who likes to find out things for myself. I like to dig into things because that’s the way I learn best. Someone can tell me stuff, but I really have to feel it and experience it for myself.

I’m a person who likes to find out things for myself because that’s the way I learn best.

Back in the day when I was an active sportsman, I was asked this same question. Yes, you have people that you look up to and can use as examples, but I have always tried to find my own way.

But then I was getting into coaching, and it changed that perspective a little. There’s a bunch of people who have influenced me, especially at the beginning of this coaching job. There are two individuals in particular that I would like to name. The first one is your colleague, Jim McCarthy who was my first S&C coach in our program. He has shown me a lot, maybe not on purpose, but by the way, he did things. And then a guy called Ad Roskam, who is now technical director at the Athletic Federation. He was working at our Olympic Committee before, and he was my connection to the NOC, he was our performance manager. He helped me a lot with the management stuff and I got a lot of direction on how to think in high-performance sports in a coaching role and not as an athlete. These two persons definitely had an influence on my outlook on coaching.

How to manage a team

Christian: How do you manage the team?

Bas: When I had started coaching 15 years ago, there was no structure in BMX. There were teams out there and everybody was doing their own thing. No one had any idea, and I’m generalizing now, what high performance was all about. So, I thought, I need to start with telling all the guys what high-performance sports are all about, and what it takes to get to a point where you can actually perform at a global level.

When I had started coaching, there was no structure in BMX. No one had any idea, what high performance was all about.

When I started, I had 15 or 16 athletes and they all had their own little local team sponsors like the bakery. So, when we got to races, as a national team I gave them an orange jersey, because we wanted them to race in an orange jersey, that’s our thing. But then, the riders came to me and wanted their own sponsors on their jersey; it was a big hassle for me.

Before I started this job, I had 10 or 12 years of Mountain Biking as an athlete, and that’s how I learned what high-performance sports were all about. So, I tried to translate what I learned in Mountainbike to BMX. Although it’s a national sports program, funded by the Federation and the NOC, I tried to build it up as a commercial team. I tried to look for sponsors and put everybody on the same bike, same clothing, same helmet, same everything; it made everything easy. This way these guys didn’t have to look for sponsorship, because they got it from the national team, and it makes my life easier since I don’t have to take into consideration all these different individual sponsorship deals they had. So, that’s how I manage the team, I look at it as a commercial team, as one team although it is not.

It’s a national sports program, funded by the Federation and the NOC, and I tried to build it up as a commercial team, put everybody on the same bike, same clothing, same helmet, same everything.

At any moment in time, someone can either leave, be dismissed from the team, come in, or be invited into this team. It is very dynamic. But from a management perspective, I look at it as a commercial team. And that started with what I just said, with the first sponsors 14/15 years ago. But that also resulted in setting up how we work with each other on a daily or weekly basis, put some things on paper there. Fifteen years later it is pretty structured, and everyone knows what their task is within the team, athletes, staff, and coach. I try to look at it as a commercial team.

Why is there hardly any drama in his team

Christian: I’ve worked in different sports and across different countries, and regardless of the sport there always seems to be a bit of drama in the sport, in some sports more than others. In your team there is hardly any drama, at least I can’t see it among the team members. Why is that?

Bas:  I’ll go back to the question you asked me in the beginning since it’s kind of related to that. You asked about my best moment or my best memory, that’s exactly this – being able to set up a structure where there is no drama or at least drama that you can micromanage on a daily basis – “I didn’t sleep well”, “I had a fight with girlfriend or parents.”

You asked about my best moment or my best memory, that’s exactly this – being able to set up a structure where there is no drama.

You take on all of that on a daily basis. I try to set up a structure where people can be open and be themselves, which results in little drama on a daily or weekly basis, but you can handle that quickly and easily. The staff is responsible for that, and the athletes themselves, they want to pick up the structure and they’re willing to go along with it and to be as open as they are.

How to manage expectations 

Christian: How do you manage team expectations and individual expectations? In the end, they have to qualify as a team, but then the individual is looking for their place on the podium.

Bas: It is mainly about individual goals than team goals. The only team goal that exists is once every four years, we as a country need to qualify for the Olympics. It’s not an individual qualification, it’s a country qualification; that’s only once every four years. But every year the athletes have individual goals or expectations.

The only team goal that exists is once every four years, we as a country need to qualify for the Olympics.

And that’s a tough one because athletes, and people in general, thrive and live daily by expecting something that’s on their agenda. People look at their agenda – younger people go to school, “Today I’ve got Math, German and English.” They have an expectation of how that will go. It’s the same with athletes, they do a training session, or they have a race and whether or not they want it, I think they have an expectation of that race or that training session. And if that expectation is too high, most of the time they come back with disappointment.

Dealing with disappointment is good, but if you set your goals or your expectations too high every week, you can only deal with so much disappointment before you drop out.

If you set your goals or your expectations too high, you can only deal with so much disappointment before you drop out.

So, a big part of the results is managing those expectations. An athlete in their late 20’s who has a lot of experience, better understands that fact, it’s an easier discussion. But to have that talk with the 16/17/18-year-old athletes, it’s a completely different talk, because they think they can handle the world as they see it, which is good for them at that moment, but they, therefore, tend to have more expectations of themselves than they can handle in general. Managing those expectations is a big thing.

How he managed to always have athletes at the top of the sport for over a decade

Christian: When I reflect on the past 8 years, we have always had two or more guys that were competing for the top spot. The guys change, but there is always at least two or three guys who are ranked amongst the top of the world. I think that it is also very interesting how you managed that. They are competitors, but they’re also friends in a way, or at least have mutual respect for each other. There’s no animosity among them. How did you do that?

Bas: In my opinion, it has a lot to do with what I said earlier about trying to set a stage where everybody can be open and honest. That leads to what you’re now asking me, having people constantly performing at the top eight level in BMX, or being in that final or on that podium, whether it’s these two guys for these two or three years, and then hopefully the three years after that it will be other guys, and in the past there were other guys in the same situation. That says a lot about our program and the consistency of it I think. And that is not just me. In the end, we have been the ones that have set the stage by allowing these athletes to develop in a certain way. But it’s the athletes themselves in that process that strengthens the process.

It’s the athletes in the process that strengthens the process.

When a new guy comes in, he gets picked up by not only me, but also these other athletes, and very quickly he or she gets the memo, not literally, that this is an environment where you can really develop yourself. I don’t mean this in a cocky way, and it’s definitely not just about us, we are just the ones giving the platform to shape it. But through time it’s kind of self-perpetuating, and it has a lot to do with how we manage things. But a lot more is involved in which athletes are invited into this program, and their character needs to fit our working environment.

Also, coming back to MBTI, our group can be four letters. If you have 15 people together and you put all of their personalities into a pile, there is also a general personality for that group. And that probably shifts as new people come in and other people leave the group. But those who come in, in order to develop their potential, they need to fit the group’s personality.

And going back to what I said earlier, Laura maybe missed something during this group process, and that was a very adult decision to make for someone who was back then 21 years old. An athlete needs to fit this environment in order to develop to their full potential. If you put another coach in my position, it’s another dynamic, another philosophy, and athletes coming into that coach’s program have to fit his philosophy and vision, and that goes for all programs in sports.

Has being an athlete helped his coaching

Christian: Has being an athlete helped you with your coaching?

Bas: Definitely. Especially from the training point of view, like the periodization, and what training forms needs to be done definitely helped me in setting up my weekly training programs; coaching, not so much. It helps in the sense that you develop some degree of empathy because you know how an athlete feels when he either won or failed at reaching his goals.

Being an athlete helped me to develop a degree of empathy.

I know exactly how it feels because I have also won and have failed at attaining my goals as an athlete. So, in that respect, it helps me to pick up that signal, maybe sooner than if I wasn’t an athlete on that level. It has definitely helped me with the training side of things.

Christian: Do you think someone can be a good coach without having been an athlete?

Bas: Someone definitely is a good coach without being an athlete on a high level. And I also think someone can be a really good coach without ever being an athlete at all.

But looking at sports specifically, I don’t think a lot of people who go into coaching have affection for sports in general. So, it’s very fair to assume that everybody who works in sports, in coaching, to some degree has done sports; whether it’s been on a global or a local scale, it doesn’t matter. But in the whole spectrum, being a high-performance athlete before coaching, or not being a high-performance athlete before coaching, yes, it definitely helps but it’s not really a necessity.

Bas’ take on motivation vs discipline

Christian: Motivation versus Discipline; what’s your take on that?

Bas: I think motivation should be intrinsic. I cannot motivate you. If I need to motivate you, you’re in the wrong place. You need to go and do something else. I can inspire you, but that’s a totally different thing.

If I need to motivate you, you’re in the wrong place.

And if you’re not motivated for a day because something happened at home yesterday and you lose your motivation to train today, then I can inspire you, say something to you or show you something.

Discipline needs to kick in when you’re not motivated, but you really need that session in order to be at your best in three weeks’ time because of the World Champs. You’re not motivated, but then you can be disciplined to override not having motivation by still doing your work. It’s a complex process because it’s not just the physical work that you need to do that day, it also goes hand-in-hand with your mental status and the motivation you have that day through that process.

Discipline needs to kick in when you’re not motivated.

But in general, I think motivation should be something that you have, and it cannot be taught. If you’re not intrinsically motivated to be the best BMXer, leave, go somewhere else.  Motivation should be something that lies within you. Discipline could help you if you’re not motivated for a day or two. But they’re both subjective to the person, it’s not an objective thing. Discipline and motivation are subjective and it’s subjective to you, me, and whoever. Motivation to me is something that you need to have for whatever it is that you’re doing, otherwise it’s not going to happen. And I cannot tell you, “Hey, get motivated.” It doesn’t work that way. It’s within you.

How to choose your support staff

Christian: How do you choose your support staff? What qualities do you want to see?

Bas: Obviously, I want to see their specialized qualities. If I look for a physiotherapist, I want him to be a very good physiotherapist, or if it’s a doctor I need a good doctor if it’s a mechanic I need a good mechanic.

Our athletes are in a full-time program, I’m in that full-time program, you’re in that full-time program, but my physio, my doctor, my mechanic, they’re not, they’re part-time. I do not have the money to have full-time physios and mechanics. So, what’s really important for me is the translation these specialists – whether it be the physio or the mechanic – can make between what they’re specialized in and the sport they work with, which in this case is BMX.

Two of my physios have raced in BMX, so they can easily interpret if an athlete comes up with, “Hey, my shoulder is doing this” or “My knee is doing this”, or “My back is doing this.” He can say, “What did you do?” “We did this and this.” “Oh, on the bike” They can really link things together. So, that’s an important skill that I look for in my staff, whether they are doctors or physiotherapists.

A typical day in the life of a coach

Christian: How does a particular day in the life of a coach look like?

Bas: My day starts at 6:30 am. Nine out of ten times my alarm is set for 6:30. I try to push out some emails in the morning. Our first session always starts at 9:00/9:30, so I leave home at 8:30, do some prep work and do the first session.

Then in between training sessions, a lot of time goes into meetings and setting up criteria for the Olympics or working with the NOC towards projects they have for Tokyo 2020, Thermo-Tokyo is one of them, which is all good, but it takes time, so that keeps you busy in between the sessions.

The second session starts at 3:00 pm until 5:00 pm, and then normally I leave Papendal between 5:30 pm and 6:00 pm and then head home.

It’s a constant thing, it’s a 24/7 job. You can be the couch or at the kitchen table or in the car, even if you’re visiting a friend, still in the background your mind is running, “Is there anything I should change for next week or tomorrow or for this guy or that girl?” It’s a constant thing. The important thing for me that I always try to do is go to sleep, that’s an important thing. Stress and overthinking can cause lack of sleep and that throws you into a vicious cycle of not sleeping and being more stressed.

At nights when I go to sleep, I keep thinking about everything and I have to tell myself, “Shut it off, there is nothing you can do now at this very moment. Go to sleep and pick it up again tomorrow.” That’s a conscious thing that I try to tell myself, not daily, but a lot of times at nights I tend to keep thinking about what is it that I can do. I have to protect myself against that.

Bas’ interview nomination

Christian: Do you want to nominate someone to be interviewed?

Bas: Yes, I want to nominate someone, but I have to think about it for two minutes. Do you want to stick to BMX?

Maybe Edgar, one of my physios. I’d like to hear from a staff member, especially Edgar, he’s a young guy who got a bronze medal at World Champs as a Junior. He really didn’t make it to the elite level, the big hills weren’t really his thing. So, he went on and did physiotherapy and now he is in the midst of doing manual therapy for us as well. Let’s do Edgar.

Christian: Thanks for your time, Bas.

Where can you find Bas de Bever

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