"The next months will be a time of exploring and trying to discover if it would be something for me. There is a lot of talent in the Dutch team, so everyone will have to fight for a spot."

Club: Defender and hockey international for Oranje
Club player at Braxgata

Osaka Hockey Stick: Pro Tour Low Bow

We meet Baart (31) a few days before his flight to Argentina, where he will catch up with Oranje. The scar on his wrist is still clearly visible as well as his desire to get back to hockey on the highest level. Whether he talks about his injury, his transfer or the Olympics, he looks calm and ready for the second part of the season.

After four years you will return to Oranje-Rood?

Baart: ‘Oranje-Rood is very familiar to me, although a lot has changed over the past years. There are some of the same faces left, but also a good bunch of new ones. I am very excited!’

‘The main reason for my switch is the opportunity to work with my brother Jeroen Baart, who is the assistant coach of Robert van der Horst. Our attempt to do this at RAHC failed. It is a little bit strange to be coached by a member of your family. On-field we are professionals, off-field just brothers. Jeroen is very chill and understands the needs of the players very well. And the good thing is, he doesn’t have to play the asshole, that is more a job for the head coach anyway.’ (laughs)

Do you have some coaching ambitions yourself?

Baart: ‘I always gave trainings of course, since I played youth hockey. The ambition for sure is there. The next months will be a time of exploring and trial, to discover if coaching would be something that suits me.’

Did you miss the first Pro League part due to a wrist operation?

Baart: ‘Unfortunately I missed the start of PL. Next week, I will fly off to Argentina to reunite with the Dutch team. We had a difficult start with 1/6 against India. This weekend was a lot better. From next week, I will be training very hard. I am not sure if I will be good to play, but I hope so.’

Do you already feel Tokyo fever?

Baart: ‘Oh yes! It will be my third Games. After London (silver), and Rio (4th place), Tokyo is most likely to bring the most spectacle. There is a lot of talent in the Dutch team, so everyone will have to fight for a spot. With six strong world top teams, the games are promising to be extremely exciting. The Olympic Qualifiers have been a real fight, so every game will be worth the effort of watching. I can’t wait!’