Global Baseball Games: Meet Team Europe third-base coach Steve Janssen

Global Baseball Games: Meet Team Europe third-base coach Steve Janssen
31/01/2024
The Belgian coach managed Team Europe in 2015 and will serve as Marco Mazzieri's third-base coach in the second edition. "Marco and I have talked about doing something together for a long time."

The article was published two weeks before Steve Janssen renounced the position.

With just over a month before the Global Baseball Series takes place in Osaka, Japan between Samurai Japan and Team Europe, the WBSC continues it's feature series on the Team Europe coaching line-up.

Steve Janssen managed Team Europe at the inaugural Global Baseball Games in 2015. He will serve as Marco Mazzieri's third base coach for the two-game series scheduled for 6 and 7 March.

"My relationship with Mazzieri started in 2014 during the European Championship. Marco was managing Italy, and it was my first year with the Dutch National Team," Janssen told the WBSC. "We played against each other twice, the last game of the Super Round and the final. While we were exchanging lineups, Marco proposed that the loser would buy dinner each time we faced each other. I thought it was a great deal. Actually, I never had to pay dinner for Marco [he laughs]."

Janssen added about the 2015 Global Baseball Games: "When they asked me to manage Team Europe in 2015, I said I would do it, but I wanted to do it with Marco. The 2015 trip to Japan was fantastic; we had a great group of players and coaches. We have done things together since then and have become close friends. We have often discussed doing something together again, and here comes the opportunity."

Born in Wilrijk, near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1972, Janssen was a catcher in the Belgian league. He represented his country at the 1993 and 1995 European Championships.

Janssen won the Belgian league as the Brasschaat Braves manager in 1999. He coached Neptunus Rotterdam, leading them to a pennant in 2009 and 2010, as well as Sparta Feyenoord in the Netherlands. He also served as the Belgian Federation technical director in 2007.

After becoming the Dutch National Team pitching coach from 2003 to 2005 and the manager from 2010 to 2018, Janssen went on to having a two-year experience with the Chicago Cubs organization (2018, 2019) before becaming the German National Team manager through 2022.

Janssen is the founder of Baseball ActionID. The startup's goal is to elevate coaches' and players' personal development by focusing on motor preferences.

"How you learn depends on how you move and different bodies move differently.

"Don't assume a one-size-fits-all approach…experts often overlook the importance of personal style in sports techniques. The human body is intricate and adaptable. Talking about pitchers, standardized pitching mechanics often overlook individual complexity."

Read More:
- 2015 ace Alessandro Maestri set to help Team Europe take on Samurai Japan as pitching coach
- Samurai Japan manager Hirokazu Ibata ready for Global Baseball Games
- Tickets on sale from 27 January for Global Baseball Games series
- WBSC announces Marco Mazzieri's Team Europe coaching staff
- Samurai Japan to host Team Europe for Global Baseball Games in March in Osaka

Janssen got in touch with the concept of motor preferences during the pandemic.

"The French national football team used this approach, and I believe we all know what they accomplished. I do believe in the power of individualized motor preferences."

Let's go back to the Global Baseball Games. How do you get a European team ready to play in March? "A lot of the guys are playing Winter Ball. In 2015, 90% of the players came out of indoor facilities to play. So this time it might be easier."

He added: "I think players are professional enough to show up ready to play. They all know who they will face, and they will do everything they can to be in the best shape possible. We won't have the game rhythm, but the atmosphere will help adrenaline take over. Players from Europe are not accustomed to Japanese fans."

Janssen is fond of Japanese baseball.
"I like watching an NPB game. I always look for streams in the morning before sitting at my computer. The atmosphere is exactly the same, whether the home team is leading 10-0 or trailing 10-0. Those fans are incredible. They never cheer against someone, always for someone."

How do you value international baseball at this time?
"The World Baseball Classic and the Premier12 are great events. If I look at the situation in Europe, I do respect what Czechia has accomplished, qualifying for the World Baseball Classic and Spain winning the European Championship."