Coach's Corner #3

I wish to thank my readers who have sent me their Coach’s Corner questions and comments. I promise to respond to all of your inquiries.
Towards this, I wish to expand on several items in my top ten list from the last article on club curling. I should also restate at this time that my intentions for these short articles are simply to shine light on various subject areas that may stimulate dialogue and pro-activity in the shadow of the current O.V.C.A. review. As such, my top ten lists, as well as any other general information do not pre-dispose your efforts to a guaranteed success. Athletes are people, with individual needs, desires, motivation, reasoning and goals, regardless of club or competitive play. Therefore, we need to fully recognize this, before we implement policy or actions.
Perhaps I could best demonstrate this with the following true story.
Mr. & Mrs. Granite (not their real names) a recently retired 55 year old couple looking for a fun winter activity that they could enjoy together, see an advertisement in their local paper announcing the upcoming registration night at the local curling club. The ad outlines the sport of curling with the traditional lures of "fun, social, stress-free, fitness, safe, great for all ages" thrown in for good measure and maximum effect. This was immediately appealing to Mr. & Mrs. Granite as it seemed to more than fit their criteria and lifestyle.

Mr. Granite had been fairly active in his 55 years, without any remarkable physical limitations. He reflected on his prior youth curling experience for reassurance that he could maintain his fit and active lifestyle thru curling. Mrs. Granite, perhaps burdened with a little excess mass and suffering from the occasional joint pain flare-ups, thought that this new fun social activity could finally deliver the fitness level that she has sought since her 30’s. Long story short… the Granites, cautiously optimistic, convince each other that this is what they should do, and so off they go to the registration.
The next week, they were a little disappointed when they showed up for their first draw to find that they were not on the same team. Mr. Granite shrugged it off, saying that "it's ok; we'll fix it for the next round." Mr. Granite having previous curling experience was catapulted to the second position on skipper's team that had suffered an abrupt retirement of his last years second player. Mrs. Granite, having only ever touched ice she found in her long island ice tea, was put in the lead position on Skippy’s team of players; that have a combined curling experience of 60+ years so she can, “learn the game”.
You may or not be surprised to learn that after the Christmas break, Mrs. Granite did not return to the club. She confessed to me that she could no longer endure the humiliation of not being able to “make the shot” demanded by the skip. The slanted remarks of, “stand over there, don’t stand there, stop talking, wrong turn again, too heavy, too light, you missed the broom again, or we’re losing because of you!” ...did not overwhelm her with confidence that she was “learning the game”. In addition, the pain and bruises from constantly falling during delivery made it just too anguishing to continue.
Mr. Granite, feeling sympathetic to his wife’s experience and conceding that curling did not meet with their expectations, did not return the following year. Does any part of this sound familiar?
Now in different club in anytown Ontario, Mr. & Mrs. Rock, (not their real names) from the same demographic, sign up for their curling experience under similar circumstances. The match committee being sensitive and pro-active in their club policy on new members, enrolled the couple in their progressive development coaching program, and then placed them together on a team with the same goals and similar profiles. The couple received fundamental skill development from a certified coach until they reached their point of satisfactory performance; as determined by their goals they had defined to the match committee. Mr. & Mrs. Rock are now enjoying their seventh year curling this year at the same club. They treasure the new friends they’ve made throughout these years and sometimes when their team is “on-fire” with great play, they even keep score!
Also a true story!
Yours in Curling, 
Martin Cavanagh NCCP Coach
A copy of this article is available here.
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