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Rockslide 2018 a fun learning experience for kids, coaches

For the eighth summer in a row, youth curlers descended upon the Okanagan for the Optimist Rockslide Summer Curling Camp.

An annual Curl BC highlight, this year the camp had 104 kids between the ages of 10 and 18 in attendance. There were campers from all 11 Curl BC regions, as well campers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington State, and even Hungary.

“[A big highlight] was definitely meeting a whole bunch of different people that I’ve never met on ice and off the ice,” said camp participant Keelie Duncan. “It was really cool to meet them, and looking at some of the players, they could be the future representatives of BC at the Scotties or the Brier.”

Led by a team of 23 instructors, this group of kids engaged in a range of on and off ice activities and training at Kelowna Curling Club from July 9 to 12. Divided into four groups (Quakes, Landslides, Tsunamis, and Avalanche) based on skill level, the campers learned and practiced curling skills such as sliding and sweeping. In-class sessions focused on topics such as goal setting, team dynamics, mental skills, and more.

“My biggest highlight from the camp was when I was able to spend an hour and a half with Karsten [Sturmay] just working on making small adjustments to my slide,” said camp participant Mitchell Kopytko. “A few key things I learned at camp were to lead my slide with my shoulders, set my rock out on release, and to hold my broom so that it is tucked into my hip, allowing me to be more balanced for bigger hit weight.”

In addition, campers took part in team builder activities such as the Rockslide Mudder, where they participated in 12 activities (such as the Slip and Slide) in groups, and the Great Shoot Out, a friendly competition where the groups took turns throwing a draw to the button and the team with the highest accumulative total was crowned the Great Shoot Out champions.

Alongside the Rockslide Summer Camp was the Rockslide Coach Camp, in which nine competition coaches, led by Darryl and Kate Horne, had the opportunity to expand their knowledge and skills through player and coach panels and guest speakers.

“We had an AHA! board where our coach participants could share what they found to be new learnings,” said Darryl. “Interactions with a lot of Rockslide Kids Camp instructors provided coach campers with a variety of perspectives and a greater depth of knowledge. Dean Joanisse always entertains and fascinates with his presentation on ticks shots, angles and drag effect, and Jim Cotter was open, honest and passionate in his sit down chat about coaching and a number of other relevant topics with coach participants.”

For Coach Camp participant Len Chong, the video analysis session was very valuable.

“Darryl looked at video from my delivery and gave me more than a few pointers on what I was doing wrong,” explained Chong. “Darryl’s analysis has made me more self-aware of correcting my own delivery, and this will make me more aware of the challenges and questions my players might have when I try to give them advice on their delivery.”

Curl BC was also excited to be able to work with Canucks Autism Network to host a Training and Try It session at Kelowna Curling Club on July 8 for coaches to learn more about working with kids and managing the various challenges they may encounter in their programs.

“Thanks to Jim Cotter, Tyler Tardi and Dezaray Hawes for visiting the camp along with this year’s special guests from the University of Alberta, Kristen Streifel and Karsten Sturmay, who will both represent Canada at the 2019 Universiade,” said Curl BC Education Manager Will Sutton. “Special thanks to the Kelowna Curling Club for hosting us in their great 12 sheet facility. The ice and food were great.”

Photos from the camp can be found on the Curl BC Facebook page.

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