Advancing Players

Olympic Coaches – Michel Vanmeerbeek & Nicolas Colsaerts5 min read


Posted on: 10th Aug 2016

Michel Vanmeerbeek (PGA of Belgium) has been working with Nicolas Colsaerts since 1990 when Colsaerts was 8 years old. Known today as a swing engineer, Vanmeerbeek developed his skills by visiting the best swing experts in the USA and in Europe and was also been coach of the Belgian National Golf Teams from 2002 to 2006, and is also the Olympic Coach for Nicolas Colsaerts heading to Rio 2016.

Colsaerts has two European Tour wins under his belt and has represented Europe in both the Seve Trophy and the Ryder Cup, notably playing his part in the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012. The Colsaerts family have close Olympic ties as Nicolas’ grandfather represented Belgium in the Olympic Games as well.

PGA PROFESSIONAL COACH: MICHEL VANMEERBEEK

Explain a bit about how you began working with your athlete and when that was.

MV: It was around 1990, Nicolas was 8 years old and at the second we met, it clicked between us. The love of Sport is a passion we share. And he had great hand-eye coordination. Since then, I studied deeply the technique and went to see the best coaches all over the world in order to build Nicolas’ ball striking and to help him the best I could.

—————

What are the key things you are going to work on to prepare your athlete for the Olympic Games?

MV: Well, his usual strong assets need to be strong. In Rio, it will be a 4-day sprint on an new course that nobody knows better than anyone else. To perform well, an athlete needs to feel that he’s strong and well prepared. So, we will focus on his strengths: ball striking, driving, long irons…

—————

Have you changed anything technically or even just operationally with your athlete to help prepare or to aid their qualification hopes?

MV: No, no, certainly no changes or new elements during the season. Changes need to be done after the season. Nicolas already knows all the shots, it’s a matter of confidence that starts with working his basics: posture, take away and rhythm.

—————

What advice will you be giving them about competing on a wider global stage than perhaps ever before with an approximate 3.6billion viewers across the world?

MV: Do what you’re good at! Don’t try silly strategies or shots you’re not really confortable with.

Article-Header-Images_IGF-Olympics-Michel-Vanmeerbeek_01

How will you stay in touch with your athlete during the Olympic Games?

MV: I’ll be there as coach of Nicolas Colsaerts inside the Belgium Team, in the Olympic Village and on the course!

—————

What does it mean to you to be working with a potential Olympic qualifier?

MV: Majors, Rio 2016, European Tour Tournaments or WGC’s, it’s the same preparation, no fancy issues to be implemented.

—————

How do you work with your athlete on a day-to-day basis?

MV: With Nicolas, I travel to tournaments several times a year but we have training camps through the year where we really work deeply on the game.

—————

What impact do you think golf being in the 2016 Olympics will have on the sport?

MV: I hope a boost in the demand by the youth and a development in public infrastructures in our country!

OLYMPIC ATHLETE: NICOLAS COLSAERTS

What does the prospect of being able to represent your country and make history at the Olympic Games mean to you?

NC: I have a Grandfather who attended 3 Olympic Games – So it’s in our family genes, that means it’s very important and special to me.

—————

What makes your relationship with your coach a success and a benefit to your game?

NC: We have a long time relationship, he knows my swing better than I do, together we have already accomplished great achievements in many years.

—————

How important have they been in your existing/current development as an athlete?

NC: Michel is a thinker in sport, he’s not only an engineer of the golf swing, he‘s also capable of coaching any athlete in any sport, and that’s remarkable.

—————

How are they going to help you prepare for the Olympics?

NC: Everything is already decided since November last year: when to compete, when to rest and when to train… The plan is made… we need a medal now!

What are you most looking forward to about potentially competing in the Olympics?

NC: Being part of the event and participating at the Opening ceremony will be unforgettable. I’m really looking forward to it.

—————

How have you worked/will you work with your coach to prepare for the Games?

NC: We are used to preparing for great tournaments, so we know pretty well how to arrive at a peak moment.

—————

What impact do you think golf being in the 2016 Olympics will have on the sport?

NC: I hope it will be huge; otherwise it will make no sense if the promotion of the sport is not gaining a strong support.

—————

How important is it to you that your coach is a PGA Professional?

NC: It’s important to me, but I’m always surprised how people do not understand how good he is with all that experience he has developed through the years. I’m always surprised to hear that so few juniors come to have coaching. In another country, he would be in all magazines, so I think he is really under-rated.

———————————————————————————————

The PGAs of Europe Olympic PGA Professional Coach Hub is a first-of-its-kind Olympics page (http://eur.pe/OlympicPGAPros) that aims to and celebrate coaching and shine a light on the PGA Professionals from around the world that are supporting, or have supported, the 120 male and female potential qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

Each Player-PGA Professional section contains details about their relationship, key links to find out more about both the potential Olympic qualifier and their associated PGA Professional, along with interviews and features with many of them.

For more information on the PGAs of Europe Olympic Coach Rankings visit http://eur.pe/OlympicPGAPros

Images courtesy of Michel Vanmeerbeek/Vincent Borremans and Action Images

Comments are closed.