The clock is ticking ~ Passion/Patin/Vitesse - Passion/Speed/Skating


25 juillet 2018

The clock is ticking

Even though choosing a head coach for a national team is a task that needs to be handled with care, there comes a time when a choice needs to be made. That time is now.

By Carl Savard
Chief Editor at Passion/Speed/Skating

A month and a half has gone by since Speed skating Canada announced that Derrick Campbell had given his resignation as Canada’s head coach of the men’s short track speed skating national team to join team China. Six weeks and the organization in charge of replacing him hasn’t announced yet who will be his successor. For sure, Speed skating Canada isn’t pressured by the media like the Montreal Canadiens or any European football club’s organization can be, but the clock is ticking. A head coach is the mastermind behind training plans, leads the training sessions, coaches the athletes to display their full potential, but more importantly, will remind them of the meaning of all the efforts they deploy to prepare for war against their opponents. The head coach is the skeletal structure on which, just like muscles, the athletes will attach to form a unit heading towards the same cardinal point. A common goal. We are just two months away from the national selections that will determine who will represent Canada on the World cup circuit this fall and at this moment, the athletes have to deal with different coaches with different ways while everyone waits to see which direction Speed skating Canada wants to go. Definitely not an ideal situation.

I think the only positive outcome would be that this long period means Canada is looking for a change. It would certainly be easier for Canada to try to stay on path and just move a few pieces of the existing puzzle, but would it be  the best decision? Canada, along with Korea and China, has been at the top of the short track pyramid for a while now, but staying on top is more difficult than reaching the summit because you end up thinking your way was the best way and you can end up on autopilot. It may be time for Canada to take some pages out of the book of the countries that are coming up and one of them is the Netherlands. The Dutch program went from pretty much nothing in short track to developing one of the strongest team in the world and it took them about a decade. Their program is open to athletes from other countries paying a good amount of money to use their facilities and learn from their coaches. Money that is reinvested in the program. It forms complete athletes who deal in a positive way with the fact that athletes from other countries train with them even though they will battle against each other on the ice. They train in big groups where male and female skaters are on the ice at the same time. Things Canada should definitely consider. Even though some major changes were made at Speed skating Canada's office in 2016 after bad budgeting saw athletes needing the support of their fans and provincial federations to be able to skate in two World cup events, it is this season that we will see which way the revamped head office wants to go. Why? Because last season was an Olympic games season and when the Olympics are around the corner, everybody wants to join and help. It's all sunshine and rainbows. This year is Year One.

What if Canada was ready for a change of philosophy? Some of the coaches we presented you last month have great resumes even though they aren’t part of the actual team of coaches. What if, to make sure that situations like 2016 never happens again, Canada would start opening its doors to a new sources of income and new ways of training? What if Canada was presently looking for the right coach for their athletes but a coach who is ready to bring some changes?

Off the record, some athletes are getting impatient and express dissent about the situation. It’s now time to name their new captain. It may also be time to refresh the boat.

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