Team Canada athletes and coaches met in Edmonton last month to review the experience of the 2008 Worlds and to plan for the upcoming season. While the team's 6 consecutive victories during round robin play was enough to take them into the 1-2 playoff game, their failure to medal was a wake-up call. Program Director Gerry Peckham admitted that they had failed to anticipate the rapid improvements in technique exhibited by the medal teams, especially the Koreans.
"The Koreans have established new benchmarks in accuracy, especially for up-weight shots, which were important on the exceptionally swingy ice in Switzerland," he said. "We will be working with specialists in biometrics to improve delivery mechanics. Also the rule change that will move the placement of the stone at delivery from the centerline to within 18 inches of the centre line (Rule to be published by the WCF in June) will change the way the game is played and we must prepare for that."
The coaches will work with the five athletes who attended the Worlds, plus Jim Armstrong, who's present role will be mentor to the skip(s). Other members of last year's National Talent Pool will attend training sessions on an ad hoc basis, with everyone promised at least one more look before the 2010 squad is finalised later next season.
Peckham also intends to arrange game practice against regular curlers who can provide the level of opposition expected at the next Worlds, and also promises to tighten practice procedures so they better reflect the skills necessary on the ice during international competition. "For practice to be meaningful, there must be a consequence for poor performance and poor decisions," he said.
Team Canada's next training session will be in Edmonton in July.