Ann Wauters understands Hanne Maudens: “Sharing a burnout story is a big step forward” | Athletics


Last week, athlete Hanne Maudens surprisingly announced that she is exchanging the heptathlon for the 800 and 400 meters. Reason: years of injury and persistent mental and physical pressure that culminated in a burnout. She told her story again in Today yesterday. Top basketball player Ann Wauters joined the table to talk about burnout in top sport: “You see the needs, we have to change our mindset.”

Hanne Maudens shared her story extensively with an open letter in a blog post. “I got a lot of responses from fellow athletes, nationally and internationally. But I also got a lot of emails from people who had nothing to do with sports, but with burnout and depression. They shared their stories,” said the 23- year old Maudens.

Ann Wauters (39) found just that important: “It is great of Hanne that she shared her story with everyone in an open letter. That is just as powerful. More and more athletes are starting to use that platform to tackle difficult matters. to cards. “

“Burn-outs in sports: I think that a few years ago it was not even allowed and could not be discussed. By being able to share that openly now, it can be discussed and you can also see the needs.”

By sharing it openly, burnout in sports can be discussed and you can also see the needs.

Ann Wauters

Wauters: “My 6th year in Russia was a tough moment for me”

Wauters is from a different generation, but she partly recognizes herself in Maudens’ story. “Every top athlete sometimes has a moment in his career when you don’t like it anymore or when it all gets a bit tough.”

“I also had a moment like that: I had played in France for 6 years, in Russia for 6 years and in the summers I played in America. That 6th year in Russia was a really tough year. I felt:” This is just me. no more. ”I recognized myself completely in that.

“The passion for the game was somewhat gone. I felt that I was no longer close to myself and that I had to intervene to feel the passion and energy again.”

Maudens often trained with pain. She also hid her shin injury from her coach and parents: “I thought it was strange to say that to a new coach. It was hard in my head.”

Wauters shows understanding: “We don’t always want to talk about the pressure to perform, but there is. In basketball you have a match every week. How many times have you not turned your foot, not so bad, but you know that you better take a week of rest. But then that match is there. And then you abandon your team. That is always a difficult line. ”

Wauters gives the following message: “As an athlete you should try to know your body as well as possible: what is the pain that I can go through? And I can assure you that almost every athlete always has pain somewhere, when he is exercising. It is always also pushing that boundary. Top sport is not healthy, you know. “

You know you better take a week off, but then you let your team down. That is always a difficult line.

Ann Wauters

Maudens: “People are much more than sports”

In her open letter, Maudens addressed all parents because she thinks they often put a lot of pressure on their children. “My parents have always guided me, I have been doing athletics since I was 6 years old. They took me everywhere. My mom cooked for me. It was a passion for her too. And the Games were a goal.”

“When I said I would change my discipline, it was and is very difficult for them to place. It was their dream to see me there.”

How did they react to her decision? “I emailed that letter to them first.

That was positive, but they are still struggling. But I think if you don’t like it anymore, a dream is no longer a dream. When your parents see
that you are no longer happy, they must stimulate you in your new dream. “

“Ultimately, a person or person is much more than a sport. Being human comes first, life is much more than sport. That’s important: it’s not just
the sport it’s all about, you also have to have a life next to the sport. ”

“My parents never pushed me, I started athletics because I wanted to do that. I also liked to do all-around, but then there came a moment when I started to“ over-analyze ”everything. I also felt inhibited by the techniques, I couldn’t give it my all, which is why I love to walk. ”

Ann Wauters’ children also play basketball. She has heard Hanne’s message: “It’s so difficult as a parent. I think that every parent just wants the best for their children in the first place. ”

“We try that too. Our 3 children are completely different in character. You have to challenge one child a bit, the other you have to leave completely at ease. It is not always easy as a parent to do the right thing. I already have them. said at least 100 times that they can do something other than basketball I wouldn’t want them to do that to please me, for example. That would give me sadness. You just want your children to develop in any way
then.” (read on below photo)

When your parents see that you are no longer happy, they should encourage you into a new dream.

Hanne Maudens

Maudens proposes a point of contact within the federation

Ultimately, an internship in South Africa last winter was the breaking point for Maudens. “I call it a burn-out, depression is more difficult to pronounce. I didn’t enjoy exercising much anymore. “

The pressure became too great. “And that pressure comes from many sides: you want to perform for yourself, for your sponsors, for Sport Vlaanderen.”

Maudens thinks there should be more psychological counseling. “The problem is that you don’t have that from the athletics federation. You have to do that yourself

look up, although it will be refunded if you have support. I’ve been going for 2 years now
to a psychologist and that pleases me. She is separate from family and trainer. “

The 23-year-old athlete proposes the following concretely: “There should be a point of contact within the federation. And it should also be more accessible financially. A psychologist costs 70 euros, put that on the table once twice a month without support.”

Wauters encourages the openness of this discussion: “Sharing such stories is already a big step forward. I always find “mental guidance” a very loaded word. We can change our mindset. It’s not because you’re one
have a problem going to someone. “

“I want a sounding board, someone who holds up a mirror to me and challenges me. That applies not only to athletes, but to everyone. Everyone needs that at some point.”

We need to change our mindset: it’s not because you have a problem that you go to someone. I want a sounding board. This applies not only to athletes, but to everyone.

Ann Wauters

“If you don’t like it anymore, a dream is no longer a dream”

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