Performance Director Reflects on Euro Championships
This year’s European Championships has been a dress-rehearsal on the way to the Sochi Olympic Winter Games for many nations. For countries and teams like Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Scotland/Great Britain this is the final Championship practice run before the Games, while for others such as the Czech Republic and Germany it’s been a last fine-tune before the high-stakes drama of the Olympic Qualifying event in Fussen in a few days’ time.
For this event, the Scottish men, who had been rotating their team all last season, took the decision to stick with the same four-man line-up throughout, with Murdoch, Goodfellow, Andrews and Drummond playing all of the games.
In the past, having a five-man line-up raises eyebrows among the traditionalists, but in the world of international championship curling it is becoming a more regularly seen approach, with examples of this in Stavanger such as the Swedish men, Russian men and Swiss men and women, rotating or changing player line ups within the Championship for reasons that are not obviously due to illness or injury.
Dave Crosbee is the Performance Director of the Scottish and British Curling Performance Programme and he took time out to explain something of how the men’s squad is shaping up. He says, “We are fortunate to have five world class players to work with. Last season, we experimented with full rotation as we were looking for the best fit among the players. Right now, we are sticking with a more stable line up at each competition to give us a real sustained test in high-pressure circumstances. Of course this means that someone will be sitting on the bench at each competition. All of the players will be back on-ice for us in various line ups at a number of competitions, such as the event in the USA in December, Perth Masters in January and the Continental Cup, before we head to the Olympic Games in Sochi. In each of these competitions our team selections will be made on performance evidence and we will be reviewing performances and other factors all the way through the Olympic competition. Given that, things can change all the time – and our ultimate aim has always been to have all 5 players fit and ready to compete on ice at any given time”.
He added, “for the record, I’d like to highlight that all the team have been exemplary in their attitude in their different roles here in Stavanger and I can’t praise them enough for that. They have all made a contribution to the strong team spirit we now have. All of the team are determined to play their own part as this unit strives to win the biggest prize there is in curling”.
Crosbee was also pleased with the form and spirit of the Scottish women saying, “of course we would all have preferred Eve and her team to win against Sweden but they showed terrific form to go through the whole event unbeaten until that game. As Eve herself says they just weren’t sharp enough in that game. We’ll analyse why that was and work on any issues that we may uncover”.
The next step for the women is for the BOA to nominate their alternate player for Sochi, which will be confirmed in a few days.
Article: Mike Haggerty
Photo top/bottom: © WCF/Jesse Kushneryk 2013