From a Campers Perspective
Well, what can I say! The five days spent at the Galleon Centre and Dolphin house were stuffed to the brim with team building, educational talks and of course curling!
The week began at Dolphin house with team building and the creation of the all important warm up card! (Oh dear!) The following day we were greeted by 5 sheets of gleaming ice which were exceptionally good especially considering the ice was out of season and has been skated on all summer. Monday’s session involved playing a 3 end game carefully observed by the coaches. Following this, we were placed in ability groups with Deanna and Lyall receiving coaching from David Jones and Eilidh and I were placed with Marion Murdoch.
Throughout the week we learnt many new skills and highlighted our faults (which there is a LONG list of!) Stations included split timing, weight control, video analysis and sweeping. Two particular drills deserve a mention:
Communication- David Jones set out to teach us that communication was key, he did this by getting us to play two ends, in the first we weren’t allowed to talk and had to use other means of communication and the second involved being as loud as you possibly could, yelling and bawling up and down the rink. The moral- communication is really important a balance of the two must be found.
Weight Control- Cup curling (in case anyone is unsure) is a game in which you aim to get your stone as close to the cup as possible. However the cup is on the halfway line and playing demands control especially as you cant slide past the hog (or suffer disqualification) This followed by a full length game in my opinion is a great drill for weight control.
The last beneficial experience at the ice rink was that of watching the elite train. Throughout the week, members of the performance squad were taking advantage of rare summer ice. What a better lesson than to observe their training!
A BIG thank you to all the coaches- Marion Murdoch, David Jones, Logan Gray, Laura Mutch and Judith McFarlane and also the ice makers. Away from the Galleon yet more was learnt, A visit to Kay’s of Scotland (One of only two curling stone manufacturers in the world) was enlightening and interesting if not a bit repetitive. It was hard to believe that charging £500 per stone was justifiable, until you are taken through the laborious process.
Each day on our return to Dolphin house we were greeted with a wide variety of activities. One of which was mountain biking, this provided an excellent opportunity to take in Culzean’s extensive grounds. A break also came in the form of caving; scrambling up and down rocks and mud- What could be better? I really enjoyed this opportunity as it doesn’t come along everyday and is an entertaining, challenging experience. We were also taken to a nearby river, we worked in threes and together we offload the canoes and set off up stream- the ultimate test of teamwork. The staff at Dolphin house worked really hard and were constantly creating new fun experiences for us to enjoy and yet another BIG thank you!
Two visits I must mention were that of the Royal Club President- Pat Edington and the President of the Ladies Branch-Claire McLaren. It was nice to see them muck in and take part in activities such as caving, mountain biking and canoeing.
On Tuesday night Logan Gray delivered a well received talk on tactics. This definitely helped me to improve and I found myself taking lots of notes, as too did lots of other people. This was followed up by an on ice session demonstrating the importance of considering which handle to use taking into account things like the use of sweepers and the ice characteristics and plan ‘B’. A visit from Nancy Murdoch was also welcomed with her delivering a talk that gave a clear, detailed description of the performance pathway and the different rungs on the ladder. They too deserve recognition, it can’t have been easy to stand up in front of 30 youngsters and deliver presentations as good as theirs.
Wednesday night, where do I start? The instructors and coaches led us off to a lovely beach to take part in “The Great Wellyboot Race.” Unfortunately the sea provided an unlimited supply of water leaving us well and truly soaked. However there was never a possibility of staying dry due to half the obstacle course actually being IN the sea. To add to the challenge we had to complete the course wearing size 12 water filled wellies! This was an opportunity not to be wasted, revenge on the coaches for certain pranks played on us involving fake rats, chess pieces and booby trapped doors, shortly after the race began they too looked like drowned rats! The list of our escapades could go on and on filling three or so pages, but I will stop here and instead assure anyone who is considering going to this camp in the future that it is a great fun filled, action packed week in which you learnt lots and make new friends.
With all those thankyous I have just two more, one to the weather which allowed us to participate in all the planned outdoor activities and the other to our parents who transported us down there in return for a pile of dirty washing on our return!
I for one can hardly wait to get back on the ice and start training with a weeks practice already under my belt, the 12th September is not far away, only 39 days!