The European Sports Academy was imagined by Jacques Borlée and founded in 2010 with the help of some sports personalities, in order to promote sporting excellence in a suitable infrastructure.
ESA offers three projects of different nature. First of all, the Mini ESA, which is a ‘proof of concept’ of the future big centre of excellence. This project aims at supporting young people in their sporting career by offering them activities to prepare themselves for sport at the highest level. Afterwards, there is the ESA Arena which aims at providing, at short-medium term, quality training sports facilities in Brussels and at being used to physically settle the Mini ESA project. Finally, there is the ESA International which will be the completed version of the centre of excellence in Brussels and which is currently undergoing a feasibility study, funded by Beliris, on the conditions and modalities of implementation. It is essential not to confuse the two latest projects because they are very different from a financial point of view as well as on the aspects of temporality and purpose.
Since 2010, The European Sports Academy (‘ESA’) has been running an innovative and inspiring project which aims at revolutionising the sports world and improving everyone’s life.
ESA was created with the intention of creating an ambitious future, full of success, for the Belgian – and the European – sports scene. Furthermore, its vision goes beyond the world of sports. As with Formula 1, which helps improving our cars’ performance and safety, the European Sports Academy aims at accelerating the transfer of knowledge, inspiring and influencing behaviours within companies, associations, schools and the public as a whole.
ESA’s main priority is to orchestrate the integration of science into sport. To do so, it has developed a model of performance which lies on neurological, ocular and muscular analyses. The success factor lies on the possibility to influence parameters linked to decision making and engage or inhibit a movement. ESA leans upon innovative techniques and disciplines helping top athletes to achieve sustainable successes.
To fulfil its role to its full extent, ESA will unite, in a single action, infrastructures, knowledge and professionals to take care of Belgian and European high-level athletes in an environment leading to high-level performance.
ESA has the ambition to be recognised as a European centre of excellence and networking thanks to an exclusive and ground-breaking method to support and supervise spot elites.
To a greater extent, ESA wants to be a knowledge centre at the service of social and economic inclusion.
Success or defeat are shaped by your brain. That is why ESA invests in putting neurosciences at the service of high-level athletes. The technology used measures the performance waves, released by the brain and linked to neurological, ocular and muscular activities.
The study and monitoring of these waves are overseen by a coach, a technical, physical and psychological team to develop winning and personalised neuromuscular strategies for each athlete.
Static and motion analyses, coupled with the analyses of the performance waves, determine what is possible or not for each athlete. ESA’s method enable them, with the same team that monitors the athlete, to establish a tailored made program of physical harmonisation.
ESA started this adventure by setting up the Mini ESA project: testing its concept in real live conditions to prove what ESA can bring to full throttle. Mini ESA is a high-level sports centre, within which a multidisciplinary team takes care of the Belgian Tornados (4x400m), 5 young soccer players and 5 young basketball players. This care includes biomechanical, static and psychological tests.
Coach of the Belgian Tornados
Emmanuel Van Innis
Honorary Member of the Executive Committee of GDF Suez
Director of companies and associations animator
President of the Royal Belgian Hockey Association
Didier De Baere
Paul De Knop
Honorary Rector of the VUB
CEO of Brussels Airlines
Former Manager of the Belgian Lions and Proximus Spirou consultant
Coach and former international tennis player
Roger Vanden Stock
Philippe Vander Putten
CEO of the Belgian Olympic and interfederal Committee
Herman Van Holsbeeck
General Manager RSCA
Professor and UCL Olympic Chair
The European Sports Academy was imagined by Jacques Borlée and founded in 2010 with the help of some sports personalities. The Board of Directors is now composed of twelve members including Philippe Vander Putten, Bernard Gustin and Thierry Zintz. ESA aims to be recognised as a European centre of excellence which, within a single infrastructure, supports and advises elite athletes.
In 2012, the ‘proof of concept’, which is called Mini ESA, began. That is a total of ten young Belgian promising athletes who participated in this unique and rewarding experience. The project was spread over a period of four years during which athletes were receiving professional support in specific mobility programmes. In addition, they had the opportunity to participate in a neuroscience experiment with Guy Cheron in order to analyse the alpha brain waves. This first edition proved to be a success as both athletes participated in the Rio Olympics and three out of the five soccer players are evolving or have evolved into the first division of the Anderlecht Royal Sporting.
On 8th December 2015, a symposium called ‘Orchestrating ambition’ was organised by ESA in order to learn from those who succeeded in the most diverse fields: culture, technology, sports and science. This day was a success thanks to the various stakeholders, such as Wim Vandeven, coach Tia Hellebaut, Justine Henin, tennis player, Bernard Launoit, executive chairman of the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Claude Michel, manager of the Solvay Solar Impulse partnership, or Guy Cheron, neurophysiologist at the ULB.
A Business Programme was also conducted in a company. It is a tailor-made excellence programme that combines sports coaching and business coaching. The target audience is the leaders and top managers of companies, associations and administrations. Starting with stories told with conviction and authenticity by Jacques Borlée, we take you on the success track to positively transform your business and its environment. Your team works with their brains, their bodies and their emotions. Immediate action and change are part of the process. On the agenda: storytelling, relaxation, sport, coaching innovation serving your specific objective that is defined together with our business coach.
Finally, in September 2016, a new edition of Mini ESA began. It consists of ten tennis players and six basketball players. These young athletes will thus begin the program with a series of biomechanical, psychological, posture or VO2 max tests. In that way, they will benefit from specific programs and will also participate in sessions of relaxation and of breathing in water.
The purpose of ESA is to look for favourable winds to win more medals and transfer high-level technology towards society.