Margo is ambassador of ‘Know what you Do’.
The conversation about eating disorders is not often openly discussed in conversations amongst coaching, educators and/or parents. Unfortunately there are a number of young people dealing with such a difficult challenge. The Dutch initiative published the Coach Manual recently for which Margo wrote the foreword.

The unsatisfiable hunger to improve. To win, or win again. Just the one gold medal is often not enough. The implications of winning often result in the renewed motivation to go again. Onwards to the next goal. There is always more to learn, know and to win. Bigger, better, greater … Right?

The daily environment for performance athletes is an endless confrontation with details to improve, challenges to overcome and weaknesses to manage. The job is always personal since YOU are the product.

I am raised by hard working and loving parents who taught resilience, realistic optimism and self belief. As student-athlete I lived in Amsterdam for over a decade. Together with my eating disorder.

The coaches denied. My sister was the only one who knew the truth. The constant comparison with others whilst feeling different than the supposed norm. Not only between the lines of the court. In general. Gradually my behaviour changed into anorexic habits and resulted in severe bulimia. It was a relief to retire from the sport. And it took only another decade until I understood that behaviour is interchangeable reflecting underlying beliefs and problems.

Environments can be chosen. Behaviour is changeable. We are allowed to truly be ourselves. However, to acknowledge and ask for help is a starting point with a high threshold. Two years of therapy created understanding and a manageable situation. It took another decade to find myself closer to my true self. The ingrained resilience brought me a good life. The never ending restlessness brought challenge after challenge. I traveled the world, found love, build a life on the other side of the world. And finally, it became quiet.

Since 2013 I am a professional performance coach. Coaching the young and ambitious in the aesthetic sport beach volleyball. As coaches were are in an unique position to guide our athletes. Not only to unlock their potential to achieve. We are responsible to teach, train and coach holistically. We need to look beyond the court. Beyond the athlete to see the human potential. Build the athlete, understand the individual.

It is easy to see the world of performance and appearance including the (possible) status it can bring. Especially sport environments are build to ‘fit in’. Pick a position, comply and obey. I did with strong work ethics and determination. I wanted to please more than I cared about me. The disorder became my outlet – a method to exhale.

Chasing performance in all areas. My ‘inner self’ never truly caught up. No wonder I always thought: “This can’t be it”. The clock counts almost 15 years. And I am where my feet are. Grateful for where I am, and proud of where I come from. I can finally say, I am whole hearted and happy. And the contrast with some previous perceptions couldn’t be greater.

The world has enough to offer without the difficult burden of a disorder. Results are more than only completing goals, or gold. As coaches we have an obligation to be responsible, to understand and to obey. The person behind the athlete. And we can do better, bigger and greater. or
Contact Margo for more information via [email protected]