Hey Coach: Hottest Team in Curling??!!

I’m writing this as close to our weekend deadline as possible as I am excited to see if Team Mike McEwen can win their third event in a row. Currently they are sitting in first place on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) and are poised to increase their lead after this weekend. They have slowly moved up the rankings to become part of our National Team Program. At the conclusion of the last two seasons they were ranked seventh in the country. Three years ago they were ranked twelfth and get ready – four seasons ago they were ranked 52nd in Canada! Why am I bringing this up in a coaching blog? Simple! They are a great example for young teams in our country to follow. Team McEwen has stuck with their line-up and that truly is a key lesson to learn for a lot of our young teams. So many times in our sport the magical solution to everything is to find a new foursome. It’s easy to keep things the same when you are winning. What is not easy is keeping a long-term goal in mind and sticking to it. I work with a number of development athletes in our La Releve program and it always comes with easy conversations from May to September as everyone is pumped for the new season and their new team. I had one team, not to be announced, who struggled out of the gate this season and were seriously questioning everything – however three months earlier they wholeheartedly believed they had the foursome to compete in 2014. I shared this belief with them. What is concerning in our sport, and others, is that sometimes we measure success only in wins and losses. When a team forms it is extremely important that specific goals are set in reference to performance, along with wins and losses. It is sometimes refreshing to know that although you may not be winning, you are still improving. Our National Coaching staff now has the ability to track a number of performance based and scoreboard based statistics to enable teams to see how they are improving and in what areas they need to focus. This can easily be done by a team by simply keeping track of their scoreboards, and if possible, their shooting percentages. There are numerous statistics applications out there that can help. The one that we are utilizing most these days is called Curlbook – it is an iPod/iPhone based statistics application that provides a dizzying array of information. It can help you keep track of scoreboards, and if there is someone behind the glass who can keep stats will easily allow you to track those as well. The moral of the story: be sure that you have a process in place to continually monitor your progress as a team. Journal everything! You do no want to have that breakout event and then have no idea how to recreate it. Yours in curling, Paul Webster Ch.P.C