As a kid I remember I was always playing with the ball, most of the time shooting towards the goal. This is when I started to develop my technique.
When I became older, my U18 coach told me that I had a good shot, both on the inside of my foot and the laces, but that I should not be happy with the level I achieved. He told me that the ability to take a good free kick is a very important asset for a player. He really convinced me and from that time on I started doing extra training on my free kicks. My dad built me a free kick wall so that I could practice even at home. These hours and hours of training helped me a lot. The following season, as an U18 player, I scored 10 goals from direct free kicks. The models I copied back then were David Beckham and Pierre Van Hooijdonk.
A couple of years later I turned professional and got inspired by a few other players who influenced me to change my free kick style. I tried to copy Ronaldo’s free kick against Portsmouth for hours. But my biggest inspiration was Juninho. His topspin and knuckleball free kicks were simply crazy. Although I was watching videos of him, I couldn’t figure out what he was doing to hit those perfect free kicks over and over again. It took me a lot of practice to get even a little bit better and I still wasn’t consistent at all. It felt very frustrating.
It was years later that I came in contact with Bartek and that’s when everything changed. I sent him some of my clips and we started working together. Within a few sessions I made more progress than throughout all the years of my practice before that. He explained to me and showed me what I needed to do differently and after only a few months of us working together (and lots of my individual practice) I started to hit the ball very well. I finally knew how Juninho was hitting those amazing free kicks. Unfortunately I met him when I was already over 30 years old and thinking about retiring as a player.
Although football gave me many good experiences – I played as a professional in Belgium at the highest level for over 10 years, I played and scored in the Champions League – I decided to retire from the sport in 2017 at the age 32. I felt like it was time to focus on other things. Three years before retirement I started studying part-time at the university in Ghent and I wanted to concentrate more on getting the degree in Physical Education and Movement Science. I didn’t want to give up football completely, however. I still kept practicing to perfect my striking technique.
It has also been my desire to help players develop and perfect their skills. That’s why I decided to contact Bartek again. I wanted to work with him, share my experiences from being a professional footballer and teach other players all the different techniques which fascinated me and which I practiced all these years. The fact that we have the same passion, that I played as a professional and that I was already in the process of obtaining a degree in Sport Science convinced Bartek that we could work together. He gave me a comprehensive education in his training method and in the summer 2018 we started our cooperation.
Having worked with Bartek as a player I can execute almost every technique myself (you can see my strikes here) and after receiving the training from him I have an in-depth theoretical understanding of these techniques and the entire coaching process. Through this knowledge and skills, combined with my university education and now also my experience as ball striking coach, I can help motivated players perfect their techniques.