It’s an amazing experience as a curling fan to see a young athlete turn around and say “How was that Coach?” and the person answering is a current high performance curler in our country. That was our reality this past weekend at our La Releve Camp in Edmonton.
We had a total of 56 athletes from around the country fly in on Thursday to attend the three day training camp. Along with them was a virtual who’s who of curling, both from a playing perspective and coaching perspective. Among our coaches and guest coaches were Elaine Dagg-Jackson and Jim Waite — our National Men’s and Women’s Olympic Coaches — Jeff Stoughton, Marcel Roque, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Ben Hebert, Marc Kennedy and Nolan Thiessen. The list goes on! It was an absolutely exhilarating experience to see the knowledge that was presented and passed on.
Our weekend agenda was very full and covered a number of topics – from delivery analysis, strategy, nutrition to a number of seminars ran directly by our top players. Imagine sitting in on a seminar on back-end performance led by World Champions Jeff Stoughton, Cathy Overton-Clapham and Rick Lang!! Then the front enders went into a seminar led by Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert, with 1992 Olympic Medalist Melissa Soligo moderating!! Having just finished on Sunday, September 12th I can tell that a number of athletes were extremely excited and somewhat overwhelmed with the weekend through the comments and thank-yous they have already sent in.
I have included some pictures of the camp as promised in my last blog. The key here for the junior coaches at home is to understand when an expert is needed. From stories shared with other coaches I believe our first instinct is to try and do it alone. What you will find by searching out key experts, and that may included other athletes, is that you demonstrate to your athletes that strength comes from identifying your weaknesses. You will be amazed at how much you learn from these people as well.
More and more coaching in curling is becoming specialized at a high performance level. This is becoming easier as support and funding from different levels of government allow us to offer top notch sport science to our teams and in turn allow us to focus on curling.
Keep your questions coming!