The Rise of Smartgoals & Timo Kleinhesselink’s Journey

Timo Kleinhesselink training footballers using Smartgoals.

The world of amateur football is undergoing a digital transformation, thanks in large part to the introduction of Smartgoals. Timo Kleinhesselink, a 26-year-old from De Heurne, stands at the forefront of this revolution, being among the first coaches in the region to implement this innovative approach.

Read more: The Rise of Smartgoals & Timo Kleinhesselink’s Journey

Timo’s Fascination with the Athletic Brain

For years, Timo Kleinhesselink has nurtured an intense curiosity about the brains of athletes. His passion took root during his undergraduate studies in Sports, Health, and Management. “I embarked on this journey four years ago,” shares Kleinhesselink, former DZSV 1 player and the upcoming coach for Longa’30 B1 juniors in Lichtenvoorde. He also serves as a technical trainer at AZSV in Aalten. Reflecting on his initial experience, Timo recalls a project at MVV Maastricht where top-tier players engaged in cognitive training through computer games. His objective? To demonstrate that enhanced cognitive training could refine on-field performance. Although he didn’t gather concrete evidence, the experience fueled his interest. Consequently, Timo delved deeper into the concept of the ‘athletic brain,’ producing over ninety blogs on the subject.

Smartgoals: A Game-Changing Innovation

About a year ago, Timo began exploring Smartgoals – dynamically illuminated goalposts that continually change colors. “The acquisition was a significant investment, but undoubtedly worthwhile,” notes Kleinhesselink. These technologically advanced goals offer trainers an augmented tool to hone players’ swift decision-making skills during drills. The essence of Smartgoals lies in promoting quicker in-game adaptability, facilitating smoother transitions during actual matches. Although not scientifically validated, Timo ardently believes in the potential of Smartgoals to produce superior footballers. Moreover, players thoroughly enjoy integrating them into their training sessions.

Smartgoals’ Wider Acceptance & Timo’s E-Book

In spring, Timo unveiled an E-book titled “Winnen door het Sportbrein” (Winning through the Athletic Brain), shedding light on the nexus between Sports & Cognition, notably highlighting Smartgoals. Following a Twitter announcement about his E-book, Adrie Poldervaart, Excelsior’s new coach, showcased keen interest in Smartgoals, eventually inviting Timo for a discussion. Presently, Timo dedicates one day weekly assisting Excelsior’s training sessions, introducing innovative exercises using Smartgoals. However, Timo emphasizes that occasional training with Smartgoals isn’t the golden ticket; consistent, long-term use is crucial to discern tangible outcomes.

Smartgoals vs. Footbonaut: The Cost Dynamics

At nearly €4000, Timo procured his Smartgoals, originally conceived by students at the Eindhoven Technical University. “It’s a sizable sum, but currently, there’s no cheaper alternative,” Timo remarks. In comparison, the Footbonaut, devised by Christian Glüttler, dwarfs this investment. This sophisticated device propels footballs from multiple directions in a confined space, challenging players to swiftly react and target illuminated zones. Major clubs, including Borussia Dortmund and TSG Hoffenheim, have adopted the Footbonaut, with the initial price tag standing at a whopping €1 million.

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