Coaches Corner: thoughts about our community and building excellence

Coaches Corner: community and excellence


As I look forward to travelling to Caronport for their annual celebration of our community (a short track competition!), I have a few thoughts that I wanted to share and may be helpful to clubs, coaches and skaters.


I believe meets are the best way we have of building community and pursuing excellence.  It is important to get to a number of meets to achieve the full benefits of our sport.  Winning and losing is not the point of sport. Racing and training affords every participant with an opportunity to learn about determination, goal setting, dealing with distractions, adaptability, persistence, delayed gratification, effort/reward, team building, and many more.  One of the main benefits of racing is that it focuses athletes and coaches for the next set of practices as strengths and weaknesses are revealed.

A special thanks to all the tireless meet coordinators, officials and volunteers that host the celebrations.

Wait, and did I mention they are fun?


Anyone athlete knows of the special relationship between athlete and coach.  This is the foundation of all sport.  A good coach has so many skills, not the least of which is an extreme desire to help athletes achieve their dreams and for the coach to work as hard or harder for that to happen. The only thing more important than this is the drive and determination that lies within the athlete themselves.

In my opinion, every athlete deserves a coach at a competition.  Among other things, this tells the athletes that all their efforts are important, and a priority, to the coach.  Please try to be there for your athletes!


There are two tracks for short track racing.  Really young skaters should skate on even tighter tracks (5-6 m radius).  Briefly, a few facts about the two:

100 m-

  • Safer as it is farther from the boards

  • Slower as the radius of the corners (7 m) keeps you from going too fast

  • Meant for developing skaters to learn how to lean

111 m-

  • Faster track (8 m radius, 15% less centrifugal force)

  • Meant for larger, faster athletes

  • Is used for Junior competition but many outgrow the 100 m track earlier

  • Skaters who achieve sub 39 second 400 m times should compete on 111 m (girls, sub 40.5)

  • Older skaters who don’t achieve those times should move to 111 but have missed a stage of development for ST

  • Racing on the 111 is good for all ages as it forces them to go faster and to skate a different track pattern

Resistance training

Any skater wanting to progress needs to develop motor patterns, physical abilities, mental skills, etc. off the ice.  Physical activity needs to be a lifestyle.  When athletes express desire to achieve excellence, it is important for parents and coaches to provide opportunities to develop in all areas.  A 10 year old hockey player can run track, start to develop mental training skills, learn about nutrition and increase strength.

According to LTAD, pre-peak-height-velocity (puberty) athletes main needs are speed, aerobic capacity and technical development (neural connections).

This does not mean that you cannot improve strength before puberty.  I recommend that pre-PHV athletes (12+), who want to spend time that way, engage in professionally led resistance training. This includes body weight exercises and load bearing exercises. There is no evidence that this is harmful to the athlete. This type of training in pre-PHV athletes is primarily training neurological pathways (technique) which will be in place as they mature and can handle greater loads.

Please feel free to consult with me as to the options for this type of training.  As a side note, too often, clubs and skaters think going to resistance training alone constitutes a training program.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth!


I’ll keep this short!  I think people think that “training program” is for older athletes and denotes a degree of seriousness which can take the fun out of sport.  I disagree.  A training program is a plan for your athletes to develop all the skills they need to be athletes and to achieve excellence with respect to their age and in their sport.

Not having a plan for their development (physical, technical, mental, strategy, etc.) is not cool.  If you are not comfortable with your plan, I can help you with this.


Coaches, managers and team selection is nearly complete.  Thanks to all of you who have dedicated your time to this event.  I will be having a meeting in Caronport with all SWG’s coaches, managers and athletes.  Please try to attend.


Excitement is building for the Canada Winter Games in February, 2019.  Trials for the team have been set:

Long track trials #1- Can Am competition, Calgary, Nov. 23-25, 2018

Long track trials #2- Saskatoon long track, Jan. 5-6, 2019

Short track trials #1- Warman ST- Oct. 27-28, 2018

Short track trials #2- Caronport, Nov. 10-11, 2018

Tim Comfort, Nov., 2017


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