Symposium: Your Brain on Sports

Symposium: Your Brain on Sports

Your Brain on Sports

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

June 1st, 2018


Medical Faculty, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Van der Boechorststraat 7
1081 BT Amsterdam


From the main entrance walk straight ahead until the end. Here, take the elevator or stairs to the first floor. On the 1st floor take the hallway to the Atrium, room number MF/D-146.



The institute for Brain and Behavior Amsterdam (iBBA) of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is organizing the symposium “Your brain on sports”, highlighting the latest findings in sport neuroscience.

Speakers will cover the full range from scientist to practitioners to enlighten us whether neuroscience can help you perform better in sports. There will be presentations and a panel discussion, in which various experts will reveal the realities and myths regarding sports neuroscience.

This cross-disciplinary symposium will address state-of-the-art research and evidence-based practices in sports neuroscience, with presentations from iBBA researchers and researchers and practitioners in sports from across the country.

The symposium starts around noon on June 1st, 2018 with a light lunch and will end with drinks. It is an excellent opportunity to expand your ‘sports and science’ network. The symposium is free of charge but you are required to register beforehand. There are a limited number of places and these are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Time table

Start time End time Type Speakers
12:00 12:40 Lunch  
12:40 12:45 Welcome Director: Jan Theeuwes
12:45 13:15 The development of talented football players Geert Savelsbergh
13:15 13:45 Cognitive functioning in elite soccer players. The key to success?  Lot Verburgh
13:45 14:15 Interview Willem Weijs (Mark van Vugt)
14:15 14:30 Break  
14:30 15:00 The BBQ of psychology in elite sport Paul Wylleman
15:00 15:30 Cognitive biases when identifying talent in sport David Mann
15:30 16:00 Break  
16:00 17:00 Panel discussion Moderator: Vana Hutter
17:00 18:30 Drinks  

 Panel: Paul Wylleman, Willem Weijs, Geert Savelsbergh, Ilja Sligte, Marjan Olfers, Peter Beek, Jan Theeuwes


 Prof. dr. Geert Savelsbergh

The development of talented football players

Talented football players do differ from less-talented, sub-elite players  with respect to physical abilities, e.g. ball skills, agility,  measured and monitored by all types of motor tests. This presentation will discuss  cognitive abilities within a group of elite youth players, such as decision making, game insight, anticipation and use of feedback in the development of these talented players.


Dr. Lot Verburgh

Cognitive functioning in elite soccer players. The key to success?

Performing at the highest level in soccer requires as much cognitive capacity as technical skill and strength. The best soccer players have an innate ability to anticipate and react continuously in a changing, relatively unpredictable situation in the field. This talk is about the current status of the existing studies on (and even predictability of) cognitive functioning in elite athletes and the change of the way ball-sports and talents are viewed and analysed.


Willem Weijs

 Interview with Willem Weijs (NAC Breda)

During this interview session prof dr. Mark van Vugt will interview Willem Weijs. In addition we highly encourage active participation from the public, so everyone has the chance to ask questions. Willem is trainer/coach of NAC Breda U19 and assistant coach of the 1st and 2nd team squad of NAC Breda. Before he worked as a technical, individual and teamtrainer coach for AFC Ajax.


Prof. dr. Paul Wylleman

The BBQ of psychology in elite sport

Psychology has become a structural element in the support provided to athletes and coaches. Based within a holistic and developmental approach, the role of psychology as promoted by TeamNL in elite/Olympic sport, talent development and the post-athletic career will be discussed. Examples relating to the ‘BBQ’ concept – Behaviour, Brain and Quality – will be used to illustrate the specificity as well as the diversity required by psychologists working with the context of elite and Olympic sport.


Dr. David Mann

Cognitive biases when identifying talent in sport

There are rich incentives for sports to identify talented athletes from a young age. However talent scouting remains highly subjective, with little known about what factors coaches or scouts should be looking for in young athletes, and whether scouts do actually possess the ability to predict talent. In this talk I will examine some of the surprising factors that produce unintended biases in talent identification, and will outline work we have done in an attempt  to overcome these biases.


The conference is free of charge but please register here. You can do this through the form below, first- come, first-serve basis.

This form is closed

If you have signed up, but it turns out you cannot make it after all, please let Barbara Goudriaan know by email:

Barbara Goudriaan
+31 20 59 88786