Coaching Association of Canada

Elaine Dagg-Jackson, ChPC & Rick Lang, ChPC - Curling

The Simple Things

Often it’s the simple things done consistently that lead to significant development and optimal performance by athletes. The same can be said for coaches. Top curling coaches Rick Lang and Elaine Dagg-Jackson remind us of a simple but often forgotten or ignored process that is fundamental to good, consistent coaching.

Leading the national team program for the sport of curling provides unlimited opportunities to make a difference in the performance of Canada’s elite athletes, as well as to influence the ‘next generation’ through the highly integrated support system we have created in our sport.

Probably the most frequent question we are asked is, “What do we have to do to get to the next level?” We then make every effort to offer a concise, straightforward, evidence-based response with the objective of providing the athlete/team with an individualized plan to bridge a previously identified performance gap.

As Head Coaches of the National Team Program for curling, it is critical that we are completely familiar with the level of performance required for a gold medal performance, where the athlete currently is on the podium pathway, and what will be required for them to produce a top of the podium performance. Knowing exactly what, and how, to train is critical in the development of a world-class athlete. We apply this systematic procedure to everything we do, not just at the national team level, but also at every stage of the LTAD.

1. Performance required
2. Level of current performance
3. Develop a plan to bridge that gap
4. Best practices - do the work!

We use a very comprehensive, evidence-based gap analysis protocol to identify specific, measurable factors that will take an athlete/team from their current level of performance to one with the potential to challenge for a spot on the international podium. The gap analysis protocol must cover all of the necessary areas of performance to ensure the best possible training plan is developed and implemented.

For us, it’s about maximizing the critical performance factors through a mindful, systematic approach, and assuring the athletes that they have identified--and are training--the right things. This leads to the development of mindful, deliberately challenging training sessions. Which of course is a topic for another time!

So whether the podium is at the Saturday morning soccer field or the Olympic Games, knowing exactly what is required to realize the required performance standards will enable the coach to prepare the athlete to achieve their sport performance goals.