Brazil’s first ever dedicated curling facility recently opened in Sao Paulo. With the official opening originally scheduled for 25 May, the wait continues for the grand opening. The three-sheet rink is designed to operate all year round and will reopen once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Read about the journey to get Brazil’s first curling rink up and running here.
Estonia – Athlete Pathway Programme
The Athlete Pathway Programme has been developed in partnership between the World Curling Federation, the World Academy of Sport and the World Curling Academy.
The programme was created to address an identified need to provide support at a global and regional level for Member Associations to become more aware of the importance of athlete pathway planning and is focussed on empowering member associations to understand the key elements in developing an athlete pathway for their organisation.
Through the identification of short, medium and long-term goals, the programme highlights ways to maximise outputs at each stage of the pathway.
The programme facilitates understanding behind the approach required to build and manage athlete pathways. It also provides a systematic and practical approach to developing an athlete pathway model that will allow World Curling Federation to work with the member association to implement and activate further development over the following years.
The initial pilot of the Athlete Pathway Programme sessions took place in Tallinn, Estonia from 7–9 February 2020 and focussed on Executive Education with representatives from six different Member Associations.
The programme received positive reviews from all participants and further enhancements are being discussed prior to the launching of more sessions.
From Peter de Boer, National Coach, New Zealand Curling Association
As COVID-19 started to change our world in March, the Year One students of New Zealand Curling’s Overseas Experience were forced to cut short their trips and head home.
While it was a somewhat sad way for them to end their respective placements — in Stockholm, Sweden and Morris, Manitoba — after some reflection the athletes have provided across the board positive feedback on their experiences.
The goals of the initiative were to immerse the athletes in the culture of a curling club, allowing them to not only improve their personal curling technique, but to also allow them to learn more about the game and the culture of our sport — making them curlers for life!
They played in local leagues, were provided with expert coaching, worked in local businesses, travelled to new places, and generally integrated into all aspects of curling and community life during their placements.
Mhairi-Bronte Duncan was the lone placement in Sundbybergs CurlingKlubb, Stockholm, Sweden.
Looking back on her experience, Duncan said: “I took a risk packing up my sweet life in wee NZ travelling alone to Sweden, a country I had never been to, and entering into an unknown culture and community. I should take a leap of faith more often because agreeing to go to Sweden is one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Duncan went on to add, “I am beyond privileged to have been taught to curl through feeling not technology. I have come away from Sweden with the wisdom of generations of exceptional curlers. Going to Sweden was a humbling process. In New Zealand it’s easy to feel like the big fish in the wee pond of curling but in Europe you realise you are more of a mino fish amongst the blue whales in terms of experience, technique and knowledge.”
Reflecting on the programme, Duncan said: “The lessons I have learned cannot be taken from any book they have been acquired through hard work, curiosity, many many questions and a lot of self reflection. If you want to experience exponential growth in your curling ability then taking an exchange is the best way to do that. You grow in so many areas some of which are expected and others come as a total surprise.”
Three players from the men’s teams spent their exchange in Morris, Manitoba, Canada — Benjamin Frew, Garion Long and Brett Sargon — curling from the Cargill Curling Training Centre.
Looking back on this experience, Frew said: “My curling overseas experience taught me that there is no end to the new experiences you can have. We played glow spiels at 3am, outdoor curling, curling on natural ice, and even stick curling. It really cemented my love of the game and made me appreciate the different ways to play curling.” Frew added, : ”The experience and the people will stay with me for a long time.”
Long echoed this positive experience, saying: ”The overseas experience made me fall in love with the game of curling in a different way than I had previously loved the game. It made me fall in love with how passionate curlers are and how dedicated they are not only to their own curling but also to helping other curlers improve.”
Long added, “You can have all the skill in the world but without passion for the game and commitment to training and growth both individually and as a team, you will not get very far. I have gained skills I hope to pass on now I am back in New Zealand. Going forward my goals in curling haven’t changed. I still want to wear the fern again but my passion and understanding of the game has been massively changed by this experience and I encourage other countries and curlers to do a Curling Overseas Experience. It will change your life.”
When asked what advice he would give to a future student, Sargon said: “My advice would be to commit fully to the experience, and buy in completely to what is being taught. Be ready to get worse before you get better, but know that if you stick with it and put the hours in you will see improvement. Trust the process. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. HAVE FUN!”
For more information about the New Zealand Overseas Experience, contact Peter de Boer using the email, [email protected]
Ten years ago the curling community in Los Angeles, USA, began the process of trying to fund and build their own dedicated ice facility. After a number of setbacks, the Southern California Curling Center has finally found a place to call home. Read about how members of Olympic gold medal winners, Team Shuster helped make this curling dream come true.