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05-13-18 03:56PM
Deliverer is offline Click Here to See the Profile for Deliverer Click here to Send Deliverer a Private Message Find more posts by Deliverer Add Deliverer to your buddy list Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Deliverer
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Registered: Nov 2016
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What's Athleticism Got To Do with It?

Have been reading posts about athleticism for years and why professional curlers require this in Spades in order to reach elite levels. For example, "Sweden has the best curling team in the world because they are the most athletic".

Actually nothing could be further from the truth. By far, athleticism remains the most overused reason why a curling team might be considered superior. If we were talking about most other sports that could possibly be true; but not with curling or a few other sports. Not even close and here's why.

One of the basis problems with those folks who uphold this point of view about the exaggerated importance of athleticism and how it relates to curling success are definitely not familiar with how most sports analysts actually define "athleticism": Durability (ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time. Example: Boxing), Speed (ability to move your body quickly. Example: Sprinters, Speed skaters), Agility (ability to change direction quickly. example: Basketball players), Endurance (capability of sustaining long periods of activity. Example: Soccer), Strength ( combination of raw power and muscle endurance). Example: Wrestling), Hand -eye coordination. Example: Badminton), Nerve (ability to overcome fear and control your stress response.) Example: Alpine skiing), Flexibility ( ability to attain large ranges of motion.) Example: Gymnasts) and Analytic Aptitude ( the ability to evaluate and reevaluate and react appropriately to strategic situations) Example: Martial Arts.

Numerous studies have been conducted over the last 20 years and they have all come to basically the same conclusion, namely: when compared to most other sports like say soccer, cross country skiing, volleyball, badminton, water polo, gymnastics, speed skating MMA, biathon, baseball, rugby, etc., the amount of athleticism required by curlers to perform at a world- class level is nearly non-existent, something of a misnomer. One of the more exhaustive studies ranked 60 different sports in terms of how much athleticism is required in each in order for an individual or team to reach world-class status. It concluded the top 5 sports were boxing, ice hockey, football, wrestling and basketball. And number 6 was curling? No, curling was rated 56th out of the 60.

So while most sport analysts have concluded that only a relatively limited amount of athleticism is required by curlers, there are ,of course, critical attributes which curlers really must have in spades in order to reach an elite status. I would suggest those attributes are as follows:
- Self- belief in their ability to perform and succeed.
-Mental toughness, resilience.
-A compelling vision.
- A highly developed skillset.
- Excellent hand-eye coordination
- Extensive training and coaching.
-Ample time for practice, practice, (and more practice)
-Exceptional talent.

P.S. In case you were wondering about golf and tennis, those sports ranked 51st and 7th, respectively.

And for all the Mums out there, Happy Mother's Day!

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05-14-18 09:01AM
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AlanMacNeill
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Ehh...I can see where a degree of athleticism is required to be *top level*.

Not for an individual shot, necessarily (any one given shot is really a balance, hand/eye coordination, and timing check, rather then strength or speed), but to succeed at a tournament.

Think about it. To win the World Gold, a curling team played 14 games, each close to 3 hours long (particularly once pregame warmups are added in). The front end covered the length of the ice sheet 120 times per game, 60 of those in "sweeping" posture , requiring the distance to be covered in approximately 20 seconds, sliding sideways while sweeping the stone.
(the other 60 being returning down the sheet from the house to the delivering end).

Those 14 games were played over 9 days, so on five days, the team had to do that twice in one day. Some of those back to back.

Is any individual moment in curling particularly athletically challenging? No, not at all...but the sum of all of the moments likely makes it the most strenuous sport in terms of endurance out there...I'm not aware of any other tournament that has it's teams play 14 times in a little over a week, for 3 hours each time, in anything even remotely approaching athletic fashion.

Mental and physical recovery are critical...and that's an athletic skill. Is it the same athletic skill as running a marathon? No, it isn't, but it is an athletic skill.

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06-18-18 03:09PM
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J-Ho
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Anaerobic fitness increases your balance, concentration and recovery to focus on your shots (especially if you have been sweeping)

If you want to measure the extent of difference between well trained "athlettes" in these sports vs average participants I might agree with the difference between them being less of a success factor than say hockey or soccer, but it is clear those who have trained are far more successful than curlers who do not train.

JH

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"Good Sliding"!

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06-18-18 10:17PM
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curlky
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Registered: Oct 2013
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Deliverer, you present lots of facts, but your conclusion is 100% wrong. Curling is one of the least athletically grueling sports, no one should doubt that. But it does require athleticism, even if less than other sports. Curling is not a board game, or a computer game, it is a physical activity.

You quickly dismiss the idea that one team might be the best because they are the most athletic, or that you need athleticism to be elite, but never support this argument. I will give you a thought process that you need.

Lets take athleticism on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the most athletic. You #5 sport was basketball. Let say that to be a pro you need to be at an 80. To be elite you might need to be a 95, showing that more athleticism makes you better. Well, maybe you only need to be a 15 to be a pro curler, but someone who is a 25 at athleticism, and goes through the same other factors as the 15 will 100% be better at curling. Maybe that 25 wont get you to be a pro in any other sport, but the overall effect of athleticism in the sport cannot be ruled out just because studies show it requires less than other sports.

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06-19-18 02:54PM
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AlanMacNeill
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Let's evaluate those criteria listed objectively, on a 10 point scale:

Durability - Curling isn't a contact sport, no issue here. 1/10
Speed - *maybe* for mixed doubles players catching up with their stones to sweep, but even that's minor at most. 1/10
Agility - You gotta be able to sweep in one plane while moving in another. That's not natural at all, and if your balance is off, you're gonna fall down go boom. 8/10 for sweepers, 1/10 for Skips
Endurance - As I stated before, a curling tournament is the longest play per medal of any sport. 10/10
Strength - Some required for best sweeping. 4/10
Hand-Eye Coordination - Key to delivery. 10/10
Nerve - Also key to delivery. 10/10
Flexibility - The delivery pose is distinctly nonnatural. 5/10
Analytic Aptitude - If a Skip don't have this, he ain't succeeding. If a sweeper's read is off, they will ruin a good shot 10/10

So...your total score is 59/90 - 65% for front end, 52/90 for Skips.

Yeah, that feels about right.

Not the most athletic, but more so than a lot of things.

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06-19-18 04:37PM
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curlky
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Alan, I think you are giving too high of a score to Agility. I am not the most experienced curler, but how often do sweepers fall down? This is not a super common occurrences. And sweeping while walking with the stone is not exactly the most difficult thing to do. Sure some do it better than others, and some can slide rather than walk, but this is not like agility of a skiier, gymnast, basketball player, pole vaulter, etc. I love curling, but there cant be many action sports that require less agility.

Objectively, if curling requires 8/10, then what is an action sport movement that would require only 3/10?

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06-26-18 05:36PM
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Deliverer
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Registered: Nov 2016
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" Your conclusion is 100% wrong."

Oh No! I'm absolutely devastated
... but I still agree with all the sport analysts who, over the last 20 years, have concluded that only a limited amount of athleticism is required by a curling team to reach an elite status.

And I'm also still convinced that in order to reach world - class status curlers must posses the eight ( 8 ) attributes enumerated in my blurb dated May 13th. ( you will note "athleticism" is not among them.)

Reflecting on your so -called "thought process", I'd suggest before you you offer any more words of wisdom it may be worthwhile if you gave some more thought to the subject so it is not so obvious you really are not sure what your talking about.

Query: If you were participating in a sport which required little or no speed, why would more speed enhance your performance? Similarly, if a sport required only a minimal amount of athleticism, why would a higher level of athleticism.... get the drift? Capiche?

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