Yvette Broch was the best line player of the previous seasons and won the Champions League twice with her club Győri Audi ETO KC. In August this year, the 27-year-old Dutch lady had shocked the handball world by announcing that she stops handball. Her tearful press conference is something every handball lover can remember. She should take a rest, in order to give peace for her mind and body and to see if she is able to reconnect with handball.
Since August we did not hear a lot from her, but now she decided to tell her story in a Dutch magazine, Helden Media. Yvette Broch wrote an open letter about her story and her decision, explaining her feelings and talking about her thoughts, with the title “I feel free”.
Success and titles vs. expectations and pressure
“Last three years I played for the best handball club in the world, Győri Audi ETO. I wanted to play for that club for years, to win the Champions League in that green and white shirt. I wanted to be the best. My dream came true, in 2017 and 2018 we won the Champions League and I was named the best line player in the world. These were great successes, which gave me a lot, but at the same time mentally and physically demanded me too much. At clubs like Győr, the pressure is enormous. There is only one goal: to win the Champions League. The club and the fans expect you to win. Always. And if we achieved something, that was immediately pushed aside, and the focus was already on to the next success. This pressure of MUST win is the big difference between Győr and other clubs. In addition, I also set the bar very high, I am never satisfied, it has to be better every time. Even when I was declared the best line player in the world, it was not good enough for me. I achieved my successes by being very strict to myself and always thinking very performance-oriented.
Mentality – is a family legacy
“These are qualities I’ve got from the family, my parents also received them from my grandfather and grandmother. My parents did not push me. I have always made my own choices, but the need to prove ourselves is in our DNA. This became very obvious when I was a model. I was told every time something was wrong with my body. I was too heavy, or my body was too muscular, and my shoulders were too wide (..) I participated in Holland’s Next Top Model and finished second. In that time, I stopped with the handball for a year, but eventually opted for the sport and stopped modeling, although I liked the photo shoots a lot. But that period as a model did have a big impact on me. It was never good enough for me ever since, it always had to be better. This mentality has made me the best line player in the world. I always thought that it was necessary to be the best, that it was in my character. And that automatically included: do not complain but work hard.
The first year in Győr
“The first year in Hungary was very intense. It was difficult to get used to the country, the language, and the culture. And I wanted to prove myself. In 2016, at the end of my first season there, we lost the Champions League final after extra-time and penalties. It was the worst moment in my career. I did not know that sport could hurt so much. After the season we had a summer break of four weeks. Only four weeks to process everything and recharge the batteries for a new season. But there was no question of resting because it was the summer of the Olympic Games in Rio. For the first time, we were qualified to the Olympics with the Dutch handball team, of course, I wanted to be there. We just missed the podium, we went home with a fourth place. I had demanded a lot of my body, intensely. I did not have time to process this season at Győr and the Olympics, instead, I had to go straight to the club.
The second season in Győr
” The pressure was even higher, due to the lost Champions League final. I soon noticed that I was not done with the previous season, but I had to continue. The whole year was all about handball, handball, and another handball. I started analyzing myself, even more, training even harder. Sure enough, we were rewarded with the Champions League title. (2017)
The third year in Hungary
“My third year in Hungary was not only the best but also the toughest in my career. Győr was plagued by injuries, many players were out for a longer period. I felt extra pressure to take responsibility and be the one who carries the most because I was fit. My position is also very physical, I got a lot to endure. The last month of the season I played with painkillers, to suppress the constant pain. We played for the titles and I had to win the Champions League one more time. It worked. We fought despite all the setbacks and we could have the trophy once again in our hands. At that moment of proudness, I did not realize that I had gone far beyond my limits
Summer of 2018
“During the summer holidays when I finally allowed myself some peace, I noticed that my body was completely empty. I could not hold on any longer. After two weeks of complete rest, I had to start training again. It did not work. I had no power at all. In my head a voice said: Yv, you want to stay the best? So go! You should! I went to the gym, but noticed that my body quickly became completely acidified. I could not overlook this, I had to listen to what my body says. By doing that I became aware of my old belief and my patterns. I realized what I had done to my body. I had not listened to my body. There were those high expectations of myself that I always thought I had to meet. Through my environment and actually the whole society you get to hear constantly: “If you do this or you can, you are good. ‘Why should we present ourselves better than we are? Social media has also a big role in our times. Everything has to be perfect. But perfect does not exist at all. Are not we as good as we are?
“Last summer there has been such a struggle in me. Between my head, my ego, my body, and my feeling. My head said: Yv, seriously? You worked so hard for this. You are finally at the top. You are finally someone. And then you stop? You’re crazy! What are you going to do? Who are you then? My feeling was correct: Yv, its good. You have achieved your goals, your body wants peace. You do not have to push yourself anymore. You can choose for yourself. It is time to clearly state your limits. You do not have to be strong anymore. Yv, you’re all right as you are. Especially that battle between my head and my feelings took a while. But deep down I knew: I want to stop playing handball. I just did not dare to say it out loud. Until the moment that I knew for certain that I could follow my feelings. I was so convinced of my case that I did not have a lot of sleepless nights when I made this decision. I have occasionally thought about other things. What will you do if you stop handball? You have no house and no salary. But I soon thought: material does not represent anything at all if you are not happy?
First, Yvette told her family, the two sisters, a brother and her parents about her decision to quit handball. She wrote a letter for the club and she tried to read this for her family first. It was emotional. “Quitting handball felt like I was saying goodbye to a loved one whom I loved very much…” – Broch wrote.
Then she called the head coach of the Dutch national team, Helle Thomsen to inform her about this serious decision. Helle Thomsen reacted: “Yv, this is the best decision you can make”. Her teammate and friend from Győr, Nycke Groot has also supported her, even if they had plans together to go to the next Olympics. “Yv, of course, you have to stand up for yourself,” – Nycke said.
Next, she read the letter in a press conference at the club in Győr and gave her personal letters and messages to each of her teammates from Győr:
“Then I read the letter for the club. I had written down my feelings, as I have done now. I read it to the whole team and that was very emotional. I also wrote a personal letter for each team member with a message that I still wanted to say to that person. Then followed the press conference in which I made my decision public, and there was also hard to not cry. When I went home, I felt relief. I only received positive reactions, I received reports from many players that they understand me. Handball is still a great sport, that has not changed. ”
EHF EURO in France
“The European Championships will start in France at the end of November that is the first big tournament of the Dutch team that I do not participate in. I enjoy looking at it and hope that they will do very well. ”
Playing handball again?
“I am often asked the question when I start again playing handball? I think maybe in a few months or a year: I’m going to play handball again. But in a very different way and as another Yv. Then I will play for fun and joy, and not because everything has to be done. And then there will be a Yvette who can accept that it does not go the way she wants to.
You have to do this, you have to be like that vs. ME-TIME
Yvette Broch is confident that she will find her new way, an exciting path and can do it as well as she wishes but without restrictions, limited patterns, thoughts or beliefs. She tries to know herself better, to listen to her body and mind, and enjoying life in a different way, feeling herself free.
“I consulted several people around the decision to quit(…) Very confronting, but by looking at myself honestly, I could choose a different path. I slowly come away from restrictive, limited patterns, thoughts and beliefs that I have thought I had to comply with for years. I have created my own armor by always thinking: you have to do this, you have to, you have to be like that. I realize that I do not have to listen to my compelling thoughts at all. I feel free, free from the beliefs I had as a handball player. I now trust my intuition, getting closer to who I really am. I follow my own path, listen to my feelings. I regularly say to myself: Yv, you are brave enough, listen to what you really want and fully support the choices you make. It is now: me-time. I start the day with meditation, then it’s time for yoga. I am still digging to myself. That feeling of immediate results does not suddenly disappear. That should slowly disappear from my system. Does not mean that I never wanted to miss the handball and all life experiences. The period at Győr and the Dutch team have brought and given me a lot. I always wanted this. I have achieved my dreams. But now I choose a different road. Through the expansion of consciousness, I am rediscovering myself. As far as the future is concerned, I will only make choices that make me feel good. I firmly believe that new discoveries are coming my way. A new passion. I’m so excited about gaining other experiences.
In love for the first time
“I have recently fallen in love for the first time. Previously, I did not open myself to love. I was so focused on myself. And I had very high requirements that my ‘dream man’ had to meet. But in the end, it does not bring good luck. Logical, because happiness is in yourself. The choice to connect with the other requires courage and courage. Before I could really allow him, I first had to ‘meet’ myself.