The Flemish Coaches School (VTS) has 22,500 enrollments, according to Het Nieuwsblad. This is a record. Thus, the number of coaches is increasing, but the number of members of sports clubs is growing at a faster pace.
“Today the main catch-up movement in the number of coaches has to be done,” Bonet, VTS Director, explains the situation in De Morgen on Radio 1. “Because the number of athletes who want to play in certain sports is increasing much faster than the number of coaches in those sports” .
Despite many efforts being made to train the trainers. Between 2014 and 2020, the last period for which figures are available, the number of coaches increased by about 12 percent. At the moment there are 70,000 active coaches in Flanders, but there could certainly be a few thousand more.”
De Morgen also invited the football club: KFC Merelbeke. Gert Calquin, who is in charge of youth, says the problem has never been greater. “This has been happening for a very long time, and not just at KFC Merelbeke.”
“In the past, we wouldn’t have filled 2 or 3 vacancies at the end of the season. If we had that number now, we could rub our hands. It got that bad.”
Calquin points out that it’s not just the growing number of members, but the motivation of the coaches who play. Corona has exacerbated the problems here. “Because of Covid, the coaches have already been suspended for a while and have tasted the free life.”
“Being a coach is of course a serious personal commitment. You have to be present 3-4 times a week. It takes responsibility. Due to losing matches and training periods, some decided they no longer feel the desire to start over.”
Calcoen then looks for creative solutions: “By running two shifts. There are trainers who do two shifts. We also work with butterfly trainers, these are the trainers who sometimes want to take on a specific training, but not constantly.”
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