Wageningen may well have even more sports to offer than degree programmes. That makes the start of your student career the optimal moment for trying something new. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Resource picked out four typical student sports for you which you surely couldn’t do back home.
From left on: klotsball, climbing, lacrosse and rowing.
has been playing internal competition knotsball for three years‘Knotsballs might look a bit clumsy and dangerous, but it’s not that bad really. The club you use to hit the ball into the goal is made of foam rubber. The worst that does is give you the occasional bruise. It says enough, perhaps, that you can play without a referee.
Something that prevents a lot of frustration is the fact that your opponents are at roughly the same level as you, since pool winners get promoted in the next period. Another good thing is that you don’t have to train for knotsball: you just play a half-hour match once a week. Which is long enough, because you run like mad. And because you are constantly on the lookout to see what is going on around you, you haven’t got time to think or to notice a pain, like you do when you go running, and you automatically get fit. Afterwards you have a shower and then a drink together.
I play in a team of mainly coursemates from my first year. We eat together before knotsball, play board games, and if someone has problems we talk about that. Through the knotsball we have formed a close friendship group.’
Investments*: Mainly in a team: the best thing is to find a group of people whose company you enjoy outside the knotsball too.
Annemieke van Merkerk
has been a member of climbing club Ibex for two years‘When you are climbing a nice rock with all its different kinds of holds and places to stand, and you think: I really can’t get up here. And then when you manage it after all and you are rewarded with a view over even more mountains and a couple of villages… that is simply an indescribable feeling. Managing a beautiful route gives so much satisfaction. Climbing is a combination of a nice outdoor activity and constantly testing yourself as to how far you can go. As long as you keep to the rules and can trust the person who is securing you, not much can go wrong.
Climbing has made me stronger, both physically and mentally, and I have got to know a lot of nice people. Relaxed people, but people who don’t like sitting still, love being out of doors and often do several different sports.
For lack of a climbing wall in Wageningen, we have to go to Arnhem or Nijmegen to train, and that is a pity. But I have also climbed in Belgium, France and Germany, and by now I have learned enough to go canyoning in Switzerland this summer with a couple of friends.’
Investment*: starter set with climbing belt, securing equipment and carabine hook (100 euros in all) plus climbing shoes (60-120 euros).
has been playing lacrosse with the Wageningen Warriors for three years‘Lacrosse is not just a nice physical sport, it’s also fast and technical. It is a cross between sports like rugby, ice hockey and American football. You throw and catch the ball, which is the size of a hockey ball, using the net on your stick. That is not as easy as it looks. So I train on my own by hitting the ball against a wall or into a goal. Because during a match when you are suddenly close to the goal you really want to be able to score. You are allowed to block each other in lacrosse, too. So lacrosse is mentally demanding: just imagine trying to keep running and throwing with someone two metres tall bearing down upon you. The ladies play with a slightly different stick and with a bit only. Their game is a bit more technical, whereas ours is more like ice hockey.
Thanks to lacrosse I have also got used to performing under pressure and I know that I can push the boundaries. You constantly have to go all out, even if you know it will finish you off.
We train twice a week for one and a half hours. We are serious and fanatical then, but at the same time we are a close friendship group and we regularly eat together or have a few beers.
After the training I always feel done in, and really great at the same time: my head is empty and all the stress of studying is gone. And what could be nicer than being out on the field playing ball with a bunch of sporting, motivated guys who want to help each other improve?’
Investment*: for men: stick, helmet, gloves and harness (200 euros in all) plus football boots; the crotch guard is optional. Women: stick and bit (35 euros in all) plus football boots.
has been a competition rower with Argo for one year now‘The nice thing about rowing is that you work towards something together, culminating in a race in which you all kill yourselves in the boat and share the satisfaction afterwards. And above all, it’s lovely on the water, especially when you go fast as a pair because the strokes are nicely even and powerful. You try and do better than last time every time again. I already had the discipline needed for the daily training, and the healthy diet, as well as the realization that effort reaps rewards. It is important to enjoy the moments when it goes well.
I turned out to really enjoy competition rowing. I have skated since I was five years old, and quite fanatically, but I was always far too nervous to take part in races. Now I have teammates and it goes much better. The switch from skating to rowing went quite smoothly. Like skating, rowing is a technical, rhythmic movement, and you constantly work on your technique and on producing power at the right moment. I already had strong legs from the skating as well as from cycling 12 kilometres to school every day. If you want to do a sport fanatically and have a chance of getting through to national selections, then go for rowing. I definitely want to learn to row as fast as I can and get as far as possible.’
Investment*: You are sure to have enough basic sportswear and old gym shoes already; sweatshirts can be a useful addition (5-20 euros), and for races club gear is compulsory (20-40 euros).
In order to take part in sports at De Bongerd sports centre, in a student sports association (SSV) or an association recognized by Thymos, you need to buy sports rights on your WUR card. You can join the clubs free or at reduced rates.
www.wur.nl/en/Wageningen-Campus/sports-centre-de-bongerd/Sportsfoundation-Wagenin gen-University-Thymos/Stu dent-Sports-Associations.htm