It’s the Best of Times

As the curling season draws to a close, thoughts turn to activities like golf, lawn bowling, sailing etc. It’s been a long season and it’s time for a change of scene. Curling can be back on the radar screen after Labour Day as the days become cooler and ice begins to form inside curling facilities.

Those thoughts may be the norm and therefore perfectly understandable but before you dust off those golf clubs, I want to encourage you to consider what’s been happening with you and your team in the last 5 months or so. This really is the best time to make some important changes and decisions, when thoughts on these matters are crystal clear in your mind and it’s your mind that’s key to all of this.

I’m a believer in the adage that to make a significant change (in this case to your curling delivery) you must be convinced it’s a better way to do it. If that doesn’t happen, the “learning curve” will be a long one, so much so that it’s much more likely you’ll give up on the change rather than stick with it. And that my friends takes time! If you wait until the start of the next season you just don’t have that time. Now is the time not only to evaluate your curling delivery but to make the necessary changes that you are convinced will result in better performance. You need to wrap you head around that change and the time the “off season” provides will allow your brain to do just that. When you take to the ice in September, you’re ready physically and mentally.

Even if you feel there’s no change necessary. Now is the time to get that delivery visually recorded so that the “perception” you have of your delivery is what’s “actually happening”. I’ve used this phrase before, perception and reality must be superimposed or what you have is a house of cards!

From a team perspective, now is also the time for your team to evaluate its season from a variety of perspectives. Did you realize your goals? Did you set realistic goals? Where your goals too outcome oriented and need to be more focussed on process? What did your competitive data tell you about how you might proceed in the future? Was your yearly training plan effective? Did you stick to it and if not might that be the problem? How about your “communication protocol”? Was it supportive and not distracting? Is the team aligned to get the most out of each team member? If not, do we need to make some positional changes to become greater than the sum of our parts? Do we need some help from a “performance enhancement team” of professionals (sport psychologist, delivery clinician, nutritionist etc.)? What about our equipment? Are we using the best available? Are we true to our “strategic DNA” and if so are we employing the appropriate”tactics”? And now for the “big questions”, are we fit enough to perform in our competitive environment to the degree we wish and did I/we have fun!

The questions posed above do not comprise a complete list for every team but I hope you get the message. They need to be addressed soon, not in September when your competitive season is a few weeks away! It’s just too late!

Many provincial/territorial associations offer summer camps for juniors & adults that are invaluable to your yearly training plan. Go to your association’s web site or that of the Canadian Curling Association (www.curling.ca) for more details. If you’re reading this from an international location, contact your national association or go to the web site of the World Curling Federation (www.worldcurling.org). It will be the best money you and your team will ever spend!