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05-13-18 03:56PM
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Hitting Paint


Registered: Nov 2016
Posts: 190

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
AlanMacNeill is offline Click Here to See the Profile for AlanMacNeill Click here to Send AlanMacNeill a Private Message Find more posts by AlanMacNeill Add AlanMacNeill to your buddy list Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Super Rockchucker


Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 1048

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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