With only two weeks to go until the start of the M&M Meats Canadian Junior Curling Championships I have to send out congratulations to all of the provincial and territorial champions who will be making the trip to Calgary. The ‘Juniors’ has, and continues to be, a pivotal championship in the lives of our high performance curlers. As you watched the World Financial Group Continental Cup on the weekend you may have noted that almost every single Canadian playing in that championship played in the Canadian juniors at some point!
As teams descend upon Calgary they will have to make the decision on how to balance their experience and their performance. With only one winner announced at the end of the week (per gender) you need to ensure you enjoy your experience, but not to the extent whereby it will affect your performance. Teams need to ensure they take in all the championship has to offer while guaranteeing they do everything they can to achieve their top performance.
It is my goal, with any team I work with, that when they head to a championship they know there is nothing more at that time they could do different to better their performance. What do I mean? My litmus test is you want to come home saying I did everything possible not “next time I go to the Nationals I’m going to do this, this and this”… that is when regrets can rise to the surface. You may learn at the championship that your skill set wasn’t matched to the potential achievement – and therefore more practice and coaching can help. What you do not want to learn is that your prior knowledge or advice given to you that you ignored could have been the key to winning a few more games or potentially the ‘big game’!
I always find it interesting watching team in a championship environment either follow the information they know will help them perform, or ignore it. Don’t get me wrong I know there are tough choices to make en route to a big win however you need to be comfortable making those choices. For the juniors coming to Calgary two big decisions they will need to make is how they balance their nutritional and sleep requirements. A great example is the facts that the majority of nutritionists will say you need a minimum of 2-3 hours to digest your food prior to an athletic event. How does that translate to scheduling? If you play a 9am game then you should be getting up at 6am for breakfast. Tough choice.
To the teams – just listen to yourself and your coach. You will need some guidance on how to manage everything – from ice, rocks, sleep, food and family. To the parents – go enjoy a vacation in Calgary and cheer your son or daughter on. Support his/her Coach as this is not the time to expand the coaching staff, if you get my drift!?
Congratulations again – see you all in Calgary.