Over the years, Papendal has changed tremendously. The past decade has particularly been a period of rapid development for the Olympic Training Centre. Experts consider Papendal among the three best sports training centres all over the world. Papendal holds the status of Centre for Elite Sports and Education. This means that athletes train, live and study in one location, which significantly limits travel time. Required support and facilities are all within reach for elite athletes. Think of training accommodations, educational support and (para)medical facilities, as well as sports scientific support, mental support and more.

Sports Science and Innovation

To support elite athletes and coaches in a scientific manner, Papendal employs embedded scientists. Scientists who, for instance, are specialised in biomechanics or exercise physiology. In this context, 'embedded' means that they are closely involved with sports, instead of operating out of a university. The scientists have been scientifically trained, but in a way that allows them to implement their expertise in a highly practical manner. They perform tests and measurements in order to follow the progress of elite athletes; think of exercise tests or motion analyses, Optimising a jump shot technique or measuring visual habits. Furthermore, they are involved with various types of research, in collaboration with knowledge institutions.

Most tests are performed during training sessions at the sports accommodations, but for some tests, a lab is required. That's why Papendal features an exercise lab. Here, the Wingate test can be performed, for example. This sprint test on a bicycle ergometer measures the maximum sprint capacity of an athlete during a period of 30 seconds. It gives the elite athlete more insight into their start capacity, acceleration capability and the maximum duration of their sprint. In addition, the sports scientists perform the VO2-max test in the lab. This is an exercise test which measures the maximum oxygen consumption of an athlete while they are on a treadmill or bicycle.

Sometimes, elite athletes participate in a tournament at a great height. Or in a city with high humidity. They need to be as well prepared as is humanly possible. That's why Papendal has a climate room in which these extreme conditions can be simulated. Elite athletes can use the climate room for various types of trainings, which include pre-acclimatisation, interval and repeated sprint training at a great height, heat training and rehabilitation at a great height.

Nutritional innovation

Olympic Training Centre Papendal is a world-leading player when it comes to sports nutrition. Nutrition is very important for elite athletes, as the right diet can contribute to quality performances. With the realisation of the Elite Sports Restaurant, Papendal took a big step forward with regards to nutrition. Various nutritional innovations have been developed and tested in cooperation with a broad range of partners. The elite athlete is always the main focus in this. After all, they have to find the new products tasty as well as functional. Various successful innovations were test and tested in the restaurant such as: sports bread, sports quark and sports bars.

In order to develop these solutions, product recipes are analysed. Also, healthy versions of meals are developed; such as the sports pizza with chicken and vegetables. It's all about the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in meals. Nutrition is also a part of ensuring the best possible recovery after an intensive training.