Let us introduce Health & Performance consultant and lifestyle coach Siebe Hannosset. What is his background, what was his favourite project so far and what is his involvement in the co-creation business of double pass?
“The same dedication is needed when you work for 7-year-olds at OH Leuven or for Club Brugge’s 1st team.”
My career in the sports & football business started when I was studying for my master’s degree in physical education & movement science at KU Leuven. When we had to choose our majors, I immediately chose training & coaching in football. This resulted in an internship at OH Leuven where I was coaching 7-year-olds. Working with these kids, watching them improve training after training… was the first time I really experienced what makes me happy and what drives me. So when OH Leuven gave me a positive evaluation and told me I could stay as a youth trainer, I was very happy and eager to become better. Back then, I was working together with Hans Vander Elst, Academy Director of OH Leuven at that time and now Head of Football Development for double pass. A nice reunion.
So what started as a hobby that got out of hand became serious business when Club Brugge offered me a position as performance coach for the 1st team. These were my first steps in a professional football environment. As a performance coach, I was working in the field of load and load tolerance, e.g. strength & conditioning, nutritional advice, monitoring, gathering and analysing all physical and medical data. An amazing experience.
“More than just a lifestyle”, more than a motto.
While at Club Brugge, I noticed that we were focussing a lot on determining the optimal load for the players to let them perform at their best. By zooming out and connecting the dots, I realized the influence of the players’ lifestyle on their ability to perform, let alone to perform at their best. A bad lifestyle, ignoring nutrition, sleep, prolonged sitting time,… a players’ lifestyle may even be the most important reason for loss of performance or injury!
Therefore I made it one of my core responsibilities to make players aware of what they do, on and off the pitch. How you act during the week, will have a huge impact on how one performs during the game in the weekend. Hence my motto: “More than just a lifestyle”.
This quote actually has more layers to it. I act on it in a powerful way, meaning that I look at the lifestyle of a player and immediately go one step further to create a real impact. I empower the player to make a change in his own lifestyle. I believe you empower performers by deep learning: give people the insight and knowledge, so that they understand why and how something works, so that one can take control (again) over his or her own performance.
“Every coach, consultant or expert should eat his own dogfood. That’s the best motivation.”
‘To lead by example’ is another rule I live by. Personally I wouldn’t feel authentic recommending these lifestyle changes like nutrition tips, optimising your biorhythm, reducing your sitting time, etc without living by it myself. On a daily basis I experience the positive results that come along with an optimised, ‘good’ lifestyle myself. This in itself keeps me motivated, because I feel great living it, it makes me more resilient, I am able to switch on-off, I feel vital and I am productive in what I am doing even when the workload is high.
Coaching, inspiring, co-creating, travelling, motivating,… the load of our work as a double pass consultant cannot be underestimated. Therefore I choose to be in control of my own lifestyle and success.
“Even the smallest, previously overlooked lifestyle change can have an enormous benefit for players.”
The Health & Performance department that was recently developed by double pass, has a mission to improve players’ performance within the game and to increase the readiness to perform, influenced by different aspects outside of the football context. Getting them game-fit and keeping them fit (availability) is a key responsibility of any club’s Health & Performance staff.
Preventing injuries and thus being available is one important part, but aligning the desired effects of readiness to perform, which is the other part, is much broader. Think about the impact of nutrition. Sleep and biorhythm. Jetlag and travelling. Extreme weather conditions. And at double pass we believe that these aspects, that are ‘outside’ of the football context, also have an important impact on players’ performance on the pitch. That’s why we advise on these topics to our clients.
“These were probably the longest 93 minutes of my life. But I’m so proud of it.”
The personal career highlight that I’m most proud of, so far, is a tough choice. But if I must pick one… it still will be winning the Belgian cup in 2015 with Club Brugge. Unforgettable. It is indescribable what winning a cup does to a man. When you are there in a full stadium… amazing. The game itself was very stressful. We went from a 1:0 lead to a goal against in the 89th minute, eventually winning with 2:1 in the extra time (92nd minute). Possible the longest 93 minutes of my life. It still gives me goosebumps.
“Working in different cultures and environments can be challenging… but very rewarding.”
After my time at Club Brugge, I started as a freelance performance coach. I had to start from scratch and give my best every day, convincing the market player by player with my insights and approach, knowing how I could impact their careers. Finding ways to get connected to new potential clients and get their buy-in to work longer-term together, is a part in a sports reality that is very challenging, as it is too often very short or mid-term-orientated. Which is what I like about double pass, where we strive for longer term collaborations, in order to deliver high results, consistently, in the long term.
“I really love the possibilities of working abroad!”
The thing about double pass I got most excited about, are the foreign experiences! I am looking forward to having more assignments abroad. I am used to working in Belgium, I know the Belgian football, but now I would like to see and experience what it means to work in Japan compared to doing a co-creation in Brazil for example. It excites me to find out how I will deal with these situations!
I am used to being a coach. I’m a coach even for my friends and loved ones, sometimes perhaps a little too much, which results in my friends telling me “Siebe, easy man, you are coaching again”! Improving and helping people is my passion and my mission and now I am shifting more to consulting, co-creating. It is a good thing that I’m challenged to step out of my comfort zone again and that I need to make sure that – together with the dp Health and Performance team, led by Steven Probst – we convince the clubs about the importance of the ‘readiness to perform’. And that a Health and Performance department, should be a crucial part in a club, optimally linked and cooperating with the Football Performance department.
Siebe Hannosset, Health & Performance Consultant
Bernadett Józsa, HR Manager