Welcome to a new season!! As a number of you may be one to two months out from getting your ice there are a number of clubs around the country getting it this weekend or who have had it in for at least one month!! With this being an Olympic Year the pressure to get started early is certainly there!!
I have had a number of emails from coaches recently of how to get their athletes to prepare off the ice to ensure the first curling practice is somewhat productive and here is the info I have passed on. I find it extremely useful for the athletes, even without a proper off ice training program, to being doing lunges at home adn getting right down into their curling delivery while ensuring their hack knee is off the ground – hold for 3-5 seconds, or more and then repeat. If you think of the uniqueness of the curling delivery there is not a time in your life, other than curling, that you will find yourself in this position. While in that position you are asking a lot of muscles in your legs, some big and some small, to hold your complete body weight which leads to a number of balance problems. If you take the chance to begin working these muscles out at home now…..your first practice should feel slightly better.
At that first practice do not simply jump in the hack and grab a rock. I’ve seen a warm-up system at a number of junior camps that I really love called Progressive Slides. This warm-up basically has the athlete without a rock slide to the back-line (a big stretch really), their next slide is to the t-line, then top 12 foot, half-way (between the top 12 and hog) and then hogline. Each slide they should try not to go past….again the slower the better to work on strengthening those muscles……with the added benefit of some weight control work as well!!
To recap – Progressive Slides would be: back-line, t-line, top 12, halfway, hog….
Remind the athlete to ensure they always slide out with an imaginary rock in their hand (no hands on the ice, foot or broom). Have them come to a complete stop, without dropping their back knee, and count to 2. Then, without using their broom or hands, get up off the ice. Ouch?? Possibly – however in any strengthening exercise we know that a little ‘ouch’ can go a long way in buidling muscle long term.
See you on the ice!
Paul Webster, Ch. P.C.
National Development Coach
National Training Centre