Mitchell van Huissteden (27) combines his passion for sports with his work as a neighborhood sports coach at Delft voor Elkaar. He organizes the most diverse sports activities for the elderly: “It should not be boring.”
As a neighborhood sports coach in Delft, Mitchell has been organizing sports activities in the municipality for two years now. Sports is his passion and he likes to motivate others to exercise more. “Everyone can exercise.”
Football & Hiking Lessons
Mitchell explains: “There are exercise groups in which the elderly receive lessons that improve their fitness, strength and muscles. We also do a lot of ball games. The focus here is on muscle strengthening. Neighborhood sports coaches do this to music, but I do this in a circuit form. I use more exercises such as squats. The level is easy to adjust by adding a chair, for example.”
“In Wijkcentrum de Parel, in the Voordijkshoorn district, we have a chair gym class,” says Mitchell. “This lesson focuses here on less mobile seniors who want to strengthen their muscles. This lesson is a bit more accessible to enter. But the personal guidance makes the lesson very effective.”
The great thing about his position at Delft for Each Other? Mitchell: “You see people getting fitter every week and they often indicate this themselves. For example, they said that they had a lot of trouble standing up, their muscles and they normally never had this. I like that I can see that the exercise lessons, even if it is only an hour a week, are paying off.”
Mitchell’s tasks at Delft for Each Other are very diverse. “I am responsible for the sports on offer for seniors and I am really a coordinator in this. I make sure that lessons are scheduled, take care of the finances and (of course the most important thing) arrange the coffee after the lessons.
It is certainly about the muscle strengthening exercises but it should not be boring. That is why we often look for variations with, for example, music.”
Mitchell: “We organize much more than just sports, we are also a listening ear. We will talk to all participants and want to give some support. We are also working on providing support to Delft families who are less fortunate so that their children can become members of associations. And in the summer we had a great program where seniors could join group activities such as the windmills in Kinderdijk, walking groups and jeu de boules.”
Mitchell and his colleagues always try to schedule a coffee break after class so that there is time for a chat. “As a neighborhood sports coach you also stay here to talk to the seniors, to be a listening ear and also to see what they need. Friendships are definitely formed and that helps to fight loneliness. Every bit helps.”
The best moment Mitchell has ever experienced in his position is the big swimming festival that he organized, which attracted more than 300 participants. And the trip to Kinderdijk last summer was a feast. “There was also a 91-year-old participant who indicated that it felt like a real holiday.”
The volunteers also enjoy the activities. Koos Pronk, for example, who works a lot with Delft voor Elkaar on the basis of the SSBO (Samenwerking Bonden van Ouderen). “Organizing these activities is a lot of fun. You are and remain active yourself, but you also do something for someone else.”
By participating in the Delft voor Elkaar events, Koos knows better what is going on with the Delft seniors. Koos: “And by exercising (in whatever form) I remain active myself. Motivating others does not happen automatically, but when it succeeds, it is like dancing. You will want more! I have already done so many beautiful things at Delft voor Elkaar: from an evening cruise through Amsterdam and theater visits to a golf clinic. At the end of such an event, participants usually come to me with the question: ‘When is there another fun outing like this?’
The events of Delft for each other in a row
Curious about all the fun and sporting events in Delft for Each Other? Take a look at the events page.