Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 3- Under 18 Optimist Championships

We are into day 3 already of the Under 18 Optimist International Curling Championships. It feels like things are going quickly although we still have three games to get through. The boys are doing amazing and truly I am impressed. The games/scores have been a bit lopsided but we have had moments where things have really come together. Chris made 2 great draws to the button to score a deuce against Manitoba tonight. In that same game we played a textbook first end to get the force and had a steal set up properly (although Manitoba made the bail out shot). This is the same Manitoba boys team that if you check out YouTube you will see the big runback hit for 6 that he made to win Canada Games gold (on TSN). I think this Manitoba team has a real future in curling so look out Mike McEwan; there might be some New Kids on the Block soon enough (once Stoughton, etc retire). Not only are they a good team but they have also taken the NWT team under their wings a bit and it has helped us a lot this week already.
The Sakatchewan girls and BC girls are also impressive. Watching coach Tracy Steifel (who is a good curler in her own right) has been interesting this week also as her approach to her junior girls is very similiar to that of a women's team and I think this team will be transitioning into women's play quickly as well. The BC girls seem like a well oiled machine and have their routines down pat (which of course the OCD part of me loves).
As for our Team NWT boys the positives continue. I don't think there has been a moment that has surprised them or thrown them for a loop yet this week. Everyone thought they would be wide eyed when they got here but I have not seen this at all. I think a lot of this had to do with planning and although I don't want to take all the credit (thank you parents!!!!!) I think my own curling experience has helped us. We have the proper snacks, a great schedule/game plan, and had reviewed all the small things also (pin cards, 10 minute practice, LSD, uniforms, hydration, etc). For any other competivie curlers out there things of coaching; jump in and share this information/knowledge with others. The teams mentioned about have experienced curlers as coaches (BC- Ken Brown) also and I think it makes a difference. I over heard other coaches talking that they do not believe the hype about the EQ heads and the 'new' sweeping research (WHAT?!?!?!?). Sure there will be better and bigger developments along the way but in the past couple years this THE biggest change in curling (get with it!). I know I am not the first curler to try their hand at coaching and so also kudos to others who have already taken this on. Again, take on the challenge all you 'retired' competivie curlers!
And of course, despite all this seriousness there is a lot of fun going on. The Go Karts were a hit as between draws activity today; both for our young boys and the older front runners!!!
And so two more games tomorrow... BC and Alberta. We will keep on trucking along and of course making fans and followers along the way!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 1- Hitting the Ice!

Well, we hit the ice today at the Under 18 championships and it felt great. We had a huge team practice at the Dixie Curling Club and the boys represented themselves well. They were throwing great, we had out team practice all organized and they had a good understanding of the ice (breaking points, curl across the centre line, draw weight and knowing the importance of control weight). It was like everything we talked about during the year all clicked together. I could not have been more proud of them. We also found out the draw this morning (although apparently it was posted Monday night). We play Manitoba, BC, Alberta, Washington and Japan. There are some pretty good teams in Canada and the States right now and seeing all these young curlers on the ice this afternoon was a good reminder of how positive the future of curling is right now. Lots of energy, enthusiasm and I am pretty sure they are WAY better than I was at this junior stage!
Of course, a day would not go by without a little adventure from Team Nerysoo. As I went for a run this morning (5K outside with only a t-shirt on!!!) I let the boys sleep in. Then we went for a good, healthy lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant (which was amazing) and I learned that we are sticking to Tim Hortons and Subway from now on as the boys had no appreciation for something different. I should have realized this ahead of time!!! But they did love the mango milkshakes and I figure that got some vitamins into them. Then of course we went to the pool and I am sure we are the only team small enough to do cannon balls at the hotel pool!
So tomorrow is a new day.... development camp and then Game #1 vs. Japan. Fingers crossed that the boys hear their alarm clock at 545am! This schedule is worse than the Scotties on the east coast! Loving every minute of this trip so far.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Toronto and the Under 18 Championships here we come!

I have officially started my curling coach career! In November the Inuvik junior boys curling team asked me to help them out and I am so happy that I said yes. now a few months later we are in Toronto at the Under 18 Curling Championships. This is a really young and green team but they make me laugh and impress me every single day.
When I was a junior curler they did not have the Under 18 Championship and so we ended up at junior nationals probably a bit earlier than we should have! I am excited to get to experieince with event and the benefits of this curling stepping stone with Chris Nerysoo, Kaidan McDonald, Deklen Crocker and Connor Sullivan. What a crew!
We spent day 1 of the trip at the Saville Centre in Edmonton. Coach Gary Coderre was great with us and had lots of tips and also praise for our little team. He said the boys were sponges and are eager which I think is a good combination. Then with a little luck and a lot of patience we have moved from Edmonton and are now in Toronto. AND we went to a Raptors game!!!!! It was amazing and they won! I am sooooo happy and appreciative that the parents treated us with such a thrill!!! Thank you, thank you and mahsi cho!!!!
So now to bed and to have a good rest before heading to the ice tomorrow. We are at the Dixie Curling Club which I have already been told won the Amarula Team Koe contest!!! Don't worry Kevin and Co.... I don't think the juniors will be wrecking the place too much before you all arrive!