Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kinesiology and Curling

What if you could come up with some way for sweepers to improve their sweeping techniques and efficiency by 1%? Would that be enough to help your team defeat even the best curlers in the world?

Possibly, if your own team was world class already.

And in that case, it might be well worth your while to examine this approach, currently under development in Scotland. [thanks to BF for the pointer].
The "Sweep Ergometer" ... measures the force and velocity of each upstroke and downstroke, using sensors embedded in the head of the brush that relay information by wireless technology to a computer, where it is processed and analysed.

The information gathered then shows team members how they can work to improve their technique, by revealing whether they have been brushing too hard, not hard enough or too much in the one direction.
How has the idea of using the scientific method in curling been accepted? Reluctantly by some but enthusiastically by others.

Brett Marmo, a post doctoral research fellow at the Edinburgh University centre, said: "Some of the athletes were initially a bit reluctant to embrace the new technology. But having seen that it can give that 1 per cent edge needed to win over the best in the world soon convinced people of its merits.

Olympic champion Martin did have initial doubts, but she has now been persuaded of the device's merits. She said: "We've had the ergometer, we've had cameras filming us, we've looked at fitness, psychology, nutrition, you name it, and notational analysis has been fantastic.

"As soon as we come off the ice, we can call up every shot. We certainly wouldn't be where we are now without the scientists."
But in Canada, where old-time arrogance seems to rule the day too often,
"Our biggest rivals, the Canadians, are highly sceptical."

My guess is that the Canadian teams will not be sceptical for long if this new technique really does add a 1% advantage to the Scottish teams.

Monday, September 19, 2005

British Team Selection is Narrowing

This is all from the British Curling Association site. Things are moving along.
Lindsay Wood joins Women’s Olympic Squad

The Women’s Olympic Selection Panel, following a thorough review of current Squad members and those outwith the Squad, has invited Lindsay Wood to become a Squad athlete. No de-selection decision was made at this time however the process of continual review and assessment means this will inevitably result during the Preparation period.

Squad Announcements

The following 10 athletes have been named as the initial squad from
which the Women's Olympic curling team for the Winter Olympic Games in
Torino, Italy, in February 2006 will be chosen: Karen Addison, Lyn
Cameron, Debbie Knox, Anne Laird, Jackie Lockhart, Rhona Martin, Clair
Milne, Janice Rankin, Lorna Vevers and Kelly Wood.


The following 10 athletes have been named as the initial squad from which
the Men's Olympic curling team for the Winter Olympic Games in Torino,
Italy, in February 2006 will be chosen: Ron Brewster, Tom Brewster, Euan
Byers, Colin Campbell, Graeme Connal, Ewan MacDonald, David Murdoch, Neil
Murdoch, Warwick Smith and Craig Wilson.

Note the power that accrues to the sports administrators. Even after picking their ten short-listed athletes they can add one, and also decide not to remove one in her place. I have indicated how much I do not like this. We shall see how it works out. (And if you are a player on either of these lists make sure you are nice to the administrators.)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Chickens are Circling and thinking of Roosting

Sheraton Hotels have pulled out as CCA sponsors, according to the Globe and Mail, as reported by TSN News:

According to the paper, the hotelier did not renew with the CCA because of the uncertainty surrounding the CAA's television deal.

"We're disappointed to see them leave, Warren Hanson, the CCA's director of competitions told the Globe. "They've been a good sponsor (for many year

Who's next?