A day at the World Championships with Ellen Schouppe and the Belgian Cats

Ellen schouppe and the belgian cats

Ellen Schouppe – sport psychologist and business coach – spent the last weeks in Sydney, supporting the Belgian Cats as they played for the World Championship. As sports psychologist, she supports both players and coaching staff during stressful times. Guiding them individually, to cope with certain challenges, and in team, to make sure athletes develop themselves and others, and bring out the best in each other when it’s needed the most.

Ellen guides coaches and athletes towards high performance, but she also learns a lot while working with the Cats. Find out her 3 eye openers!

1. Live healthier, feel fitter

During the long days, and sometimes short nights, her step count multiplied by five: walking to the trainings, assisting in rebounding (throwing the ball back to a practicing player), not sitting down during practice… It is quite different from a desk job! In this sports environment, she also opts for the stairs rather than the elevator. 

Aside from the movement, food intake is also different when you’re surrounded by high performing athletes. No unhealthy snacks and, of course, no soft drinks. In the past, she has lost 1kg a week, simply by living a more active and healthier lifestyle.

2. We’re only human

Even though to the outside world, elite athletes seem unreachable, almost half-gods, they are ultimately human. This is something Ellen Schouppe realizes even more when guiding athletes through a world championship.

Even elite athletes, who surpass themselves, win medals, win impossible competitions… In the end, they are also just people with emotions, fears, who sometimes set the bar way too high, perfectionists….

This is why, as a leader, it is important pay attention to the person behind the athlete you can bring out the best in the person.

This can be directly linked to the business world: You cannot only expect the employee to perform because they have a good salary. Even as a manager you must pay attention to the person behind the employee. Just like a coach should build a real, genuine relationship with his athletes.

The most successful managers and coaches are those who know how to reach the person behind the athlete or employee and connect with him or her on an emotional level.

3. A team is as strong as the individuals

How do you react when your key player, or important employee, drops out? The team gets challenged, there is a higher workload… How can a team stand up and fight for someone who has to take a break?

It’s important to realize that a team does not rely on one person. The team should get together in a positive way and divide the extra workload according to the strength of each individual. This way victory and good performance can be achieved.

No matter how difficult these moments are, often a team comes out of that even stronger. Especially when the person who falls out takes up his/her responsibility, as Emma Meesseman did by guiding her team with her leadership from the sideline. 

When facing hard times, team members manage to work together closely trust and team cohesion are impacted in a positive way!It is wonderful to see that if the remaining employees and team members do their best to work together, how a very important person for the team can also be taken care of.