(June 29, 2004)
It was a busy weekend for members of Skate Canada’s Junior National Team and National Development Team.
Fifty-six skaters from the two teams attended the Skate Canada Camp, which was held in Ottawa from June 24-27. The main purpose of the camp was to provide athletes with on and off-ice workshops that would reflect an optimum training environment.
The teams were led by Louis Stong, Skate Canada Director of Skating Development, Skate Canada National Coach Consultants Petra Burka, Marijane Stong, and Skate Canada Coach Consultant Julie Brault. On-ice components included technical sessions, stroking, footwork and field movement sessions, as well as performance-focused sessions.
Aaron Lowe, Skate Canada National Team member, was also on hand to provide the skaters with guidance both on and off the ice.
“It was nice to talk to Aaron,” said Sarah Burke, who, along with Eric Radford, won the gold medal in the Novice Pair event at the 2004 BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals. “You can ask him things you couldn’t really ask anyone else. He has the experience and was very helpful.”
Off the ice, the skaters participated in various seminars led by Petra Burka. The seminars included a discussion on international competition, a Skate Canada information session and a session called Putting it all Together.
In addition, Brenda Gorman, Skate Canada Director of Public Affairs, and Melanie Campbell, Skate Canada Communications Coordinator, presented a media information session to the athletes. Dr. Rebecca Lloyd was also on-site as a sport psychologist, and introduced the skaters to Peak and Deep Flow and its applications to practice and performance.
Dr. Patricia Benoit, Skate Canada Director of Strategic and Program Analysis, delivered a seminar to the athletes on the International Skating Union’s (ISU) new Code of Points judging system, which was approved at the ISU Congress in June.
“Having the discussion about the points (the new ISU Code of Points judging system), then going on the ice with Louis and trying stuff out, learning how to improve and get more points was really nice,” said Burke.
Various team-building exercises were also a part of this special weekend. Since these athletes will be competing internationally as members of the Skate Canada team, this gave them the opportunity to get to know one another on a different level.
“My favorite part was the team-building. We really get to work together and support each other,” said Eric Radford, the 2004 Canadian Junior Men’s Champion and the 2004 Canadian Novice Pair Champion.
Amanda Billings, Junior National Team member, said that she preferred the on-ice sessions “because they worked on things I really need to improve on, and that’s my favorite part of skating.
“I’m having lots of fun, and it’s a really good camp. It’s also nice to have a member of the national team here (Aaron Lowe), and it was good to have a sport psychologist (Dr. Rebecca Lloyd) too,” Billings added.
A variety of fitness components included Latin Hip Hop, by Culture Shock’s Carole Woodstock and Marc-André Clement, Core Control and Tai Chi by Dylan Harries, Yoga by Kathy Mills, and Flexible Strength by Rebecca Lloyd. The Junior National Team also performed their fitness testing with University of Ottawa’s Stephane Cova.
The skaters were led by a wonderful group of team leaders, including Ariane Faribault, Jeff Lukasik, Michelle Kho, André Marc Allain, Dawn Williams, and Jayson Peace, who are all members of the skating community from across the country.
The weekend concluded with a barbecue and a social evening of dancing in which the skaters demonstrated their newly learned hip-hop routines.
Overall, the camp was a great success and the athletes enjoyed the opportunity to learn skills both on and off the ice. Some of the athletes described the camp as “the total package,” “enlightening,” and as representing “team camaraderie.”