Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

AUAS launches TAA, the academy for high performance athletes

Topsport Academie Amsterdam (TAA) makes higher education more widely available and accessible for high performance athletes

11 Nov 2014 15:53 | Communication

From now on, the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) will be making higher education more widely available and accessible for high performing athletes. The launch of TAA (Topsport Academie Amsterdam, the academy for high performance athletes) officially 'kicked-off' on Tuesday 28 October. Sport's top performing athletes can now select from a wide range of courses, in which they can benefit from intensive support and where they have the opportunity, where possible, to arrange their study schedule around their activities.

Prior to this, such made to measure arrangements were only possible at the AUAS in the Commercial Economics programme within AUAS's Johan Cruyff University. High performing athletes by their very nature are obliged to follow strict intensive training and are often out of the country. Whilst studying, this requires very specific personal guidance, preferably by teachers who themselves have direct experience of high performance sports. With the launch of TAA, AUAS becomes a leading force when combining a higher education with a high performance sports career. TAA also enables AUAS to honour a national covenant (FLOT) agreed upon by institutes of higher education and NOC*NSF. At AUAS no less than 200 high performing sportsmen and sportswomen now have the opportunity of combining their career in sport with their study.

Intensive individual guidance

Each athlete student will be appointed a personal study coach, to ensure they are able to follow their choice of study in a manner which is flexible and adaptable to their wishes and obligations. TAA will maintain close contact with the sports world, as of course the sports world also has a vested interest and responsibility in combining high performance sports with education. The centre for high performance sports and education, CTO Amsterdam, also has a significant role here.

Examinations and attendance requirements

Dennis van Vlaanderen, TAA programme manager on behalf of AUAS: ‘We ensure that the high performance athlete is able to successfully follow education in a flexible manner. In a joint effort by the university and the sports world, TAA can adjust and fine-tune around 70 to 80 % of the study with the athlete's training and competition schedule.’ To make this possible, the athlete together with the study coach will submit a proposal to the examination board for amended attendance requirements. This clarifies expectations on both sides from the very outset.

Top sport classes

As well as individual guidance, special 'top sport classes' will be organised within AUAS's six programmes where most high performance athletes wish to study. These include Physiotherapy, Nutrition, Sports Management and Business and Media, Information and Communication. These classes will be run by a high performance sports guidance team and will benefit from an adapted curriculum. For example, there will be possibilities for working on adjusted college days or times, or completing an internship during summer holidays. Because high performance coaches, the student counsellor and the examination board are represented in this team, bottlenecks can be cleared immediately whenever the sports or the study at a given moment requires this to happen.