Talking to European Girevoys (1)

kettlebell sport nl

This week I have been talking to Gireviks – coaches, experienced athletes and novices – about their year with Kettlebells. I was keen to see some different perspectives on the competitions and training opportunities in 2012, and hear about their personal goals for 2013. Today: Ewout Staartjes of the Dutch Girevoy Sport Association.

Ewout Staartjes is secretary and responsible for public relations for the Dutch Girevoy Sport Association. In 2010 the DGSA was the first organisation in the Netherlands to invite a Girevik from Belarus – Sergei Matsko – to visit the country in order to hold a Girevoy Sport workshop. This workshop inspired Richard de Jonge (now Coach, DGSA) and Pascal Zemering ( now Chairman) to take up Girevoy sport.

DGSA held their first Dutch Open this autumn – the first Kettlebell competition ever in Holland. The competitors numbered around 20,¬† which is impressive enough for a first event. There was a large audience, and huge enthusiasm for the event. Ewout, Richard and Pascal fully expect that Girevoy Sport will grow in importance and participation in the Netherlands next year, but they will be happy with a gradual growth. As Ewout says: “..this sport is quite extreme and you need lots of training for that” so he doesn’t see it as a a recreational sport people will want to simply dip into.

I asked Ewout about the training regimes favoured by the DGSA. He told me about his passion for ice swimming. “I learned about ice swimming during yoga winter training in Siberia. I was very impressed by the sensation in your body afterwards. I started reading about it, and followed several training sessions by the famous Dutch “Iceman” Wim Hof. Since last winter I take a cold bath outside every morning, and go swimming in the river twice a week. It has a great impact on your immune-, nervous- and blood systems.¬† My health is much better since I started with winter swimming. My wife and I will be holding a Yoga and Winter Swimming¬† training camp in Russia this winter.”

I asked Ewout how he viewed competitions in Russia and Eastern Europe. He thought it was a pity there were so many different federations and associations each with their own rules and competitions, and felt it would be better for the sport if the competitions were combined, independent of any individual organisations.

This year has seen many new Kettlebell clubs in the UK, and I guess it will be the same elsewhere in Europe. I asked Ewout what advice he would give to clubs just starting out. “First of all, buy good competition Kettlebells. Second: teach both kettlebell fitness and sport. They complement each other well. Take care of a good base with core stability and be patient with beginners in order to avoid trauma.”

And what about Ewout’s personal goals for 2013? “For me personally, the main goal is to stay healthy and in shape generally. That means a good balance between strength, flexibility, endurance and co-ordination. So I train not only Kettlebell, but also yoga, running, CrossFit and ice swimming. That means I am generalist, that is more healthy than specialist. My goal for Kettlebell Sport is 70x Jerk 2×24 (now 58x)/ 50xL/C 2×24 (now 37x)/ 120 Snatch24kg (now 100x).”

My thanks to Ewout and the DGSA for their help. I am hoping to visit them next year – when I have brushed up my spoken Dutch!




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