Helping people develop in and through sports is the common thread in my career. To strengthen my mission it is needed that we create the right conditions for sportparticipation, especially in youth sports. Therefore it is necessary to stimulate a safe, positieve and develoment oriented sports climate and diminish transgressive behavior in sport.
Since June 2022, I am professor Sport, Risks & Safety at the University of Twente, and since September 2014, professor (lector) ‘Sport Pedagogy, especially towards a safe sport climate’ at the Windesheim University of Applied Sciences.
I have extensive experience in scientific data collection, designing and conducting (applied) research in sport and translating science into practice. I published several scientific articles, book chapters and reports on transgressive behavior and sexual harassment and abuse in sport, sport and children with special needs and a pedagogical perspective in sport.
Strategic Advisor Youth Sport
Windesheim University of Applied Sciences
Professor Sport Pedagogy
Sport is a popular leisure activity among young people. In the Netherlands
approximately 1.9 million young people (aged between 5 and 18 years) practice sports
of which 1.3 million participate in organised sports at a club level. Organised sport
is, therefore, often regarded as the third educational environment — next to home
and school — in which youngsters can physically develop and socially learn and have
fun. This is substantively evident in the physical, mental and social effects of sports
exercise. Thus, sports participation offers excellent opportunities for contributing to personal and social development and life skills.
However, there is another side to sports: an unsafe side, which can lead to negative outcomes such as depression, exhaustion, eating disorders and anxiety. Within the sports world, there is an obligation to protect athletes from harassment and abuse as it is embedded in the statutory governing documents of sport, including the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics. All athletes have a right to engage in ‘safe sport’.
Transgressive behaviours (emotionally, physically, sexually) in sport have a high prevelence rate: 71.7 % experienced some form of transgressive behavior as a child, in which 48.6% of these events also made an impact (in other words: has been significant at the time it took place). Severe emotional transgression events occurred in 22% of the youth athletes, severe physical assault in12.7% and severe sexual assault in 6.9% of the youth athletes.
To turn this around, individuals need to be protected from any opportunity bringing their (physical, sexual and/or psychological) safety at risk by establishing a safe sports climate through safeguarding. Therefore, the vision and mission of our scientific contribution is to establish safeguarding in the DNA of all levels of the sports community. Together, by striving to realise a positive, development oriented and safe sports climate (a so called pedagogical climate), positive experiences in sports will become the norm for everyone.
Google Scholar Link
Affiliated Study Programmes
Courses Academic Year 2023/2024
Ongoing research projects:
"Building European Safe Sports Together" with prof. dr. Nicolette Schipper-van Veldhoven, drs. Marleen Haandrikman ( PhD) and others. Windesheim University of Applied Sciences & European Olympic Academies. Building European Safe Sports Together | Psychology of Conflict, Risk & Safety (utwente.nl)