Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

THE JUNIOR CURLERS — After a two-hour instructional clinic, the junior curlers took the opportunity to pose for pictures with Kevin Martin. As well they got to hold his gold and silver Olympic medals.

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Photo by John Tonin

POWER OFF THE HACK — The team Hot Mess is all smiles as they listen intentely to Kevin Martin as he runs them through a technical training session.

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Photo by John Tonin

TAKING AIM — Kevin Martin closely watches the technique of Scott Cameron’s delivery.

Kevin Martin runs clinics for curlers

Curlers of all ages and skill levels headed down to the Whitehorse Curling Club Saturday to take part in instructional clinics, lead by three-time Olympian and four-time Brier champion Kevin Martin.

By John Tonin on October 9, 2018

Curlers of all ages and skill levels headed down to the Whitehorse Curling Club Saturday to take part in instructional clinics, lead by three-time Olympian and four-time Brier champion Kevin Martin.

The juniors were the first to take to the ice Saturday. Over 24 young curlers listened attentively and stared on wide-eyed as they absorbed Martin’s coaching. Although many of them have only been curling for a few years, they are already looking towards their curling future.

Jordan Keats is heading into his eighth curling season and says the instruction he received from Martin is going to help him reach his next curling goal.

“It’s not everyday you get to come up to the rink and get to meet someone who has won an Olympic gold [Vancouver, 2010] and silver medal [Salt Lake City, 2002], and it was just awesome to learn from someone who did that,” said Keats. “He got us to sweep on 60 degree angles and to cover the whole face of the rock. My goal is to play in the next Arctic Winter Games, and he helped me think the game at a different level.”

Griffin Beaudry has been curling since he was six, and is currently curling in the Junior Rockers program.

“Kevin Martin was really, really good,” said Beaudry. “He definitely helped my game. I want to take curling as far as I can go.”

Teams were also able to book individual spots with Martin in order to receive team-oriented instruction in preparation for the up-coming curling season, which begins today.

Team Hot Mess received over an

1 1/2 of private instruction from Martin. Although all experienced curlers there was plenty of learning to do, and some of the team-members could not help but feel a little awe-struck.

“Oh my gosh, first of all I was completely, ridiculously star-struck, but he was such a wonderful man and he puts you right at ease,” said Antoinette Greenoliph. “There are so many things that after curling for so many years, you never even knew, like how to come out of the hack, or how to hold the broom properly it is all very technical. I think I will be a much better curler this year.”

When learning from a high-caliber athlete, who has competed on the world’s largest stage, the teams tried to get every bit of advice they could during their time with Martin.

“It was amazing, I learned a lot,” said Tessa Lawrence.“I learned some very basic fundamentals that I had never even heard of, it was a bit of information overload but it was awesome. What I have learned over the years is to work on a few things at once, there is a lot to learn and a lot to focus on so I think I’ll just choose one thing to work on each game.”

Lee Malanchuk echoes the sentiments of his two Hot Mess teammates. Malanchuk was most impressed with Martin’s ability to recognize and adjust every curlers technique, regardless of their current skill-level.

“Kevin looks at every person he is talking to and every curler he is dealing with, from their perspective, he sees what will help them most,” said Malanchuk. “He gave everyone an excellent base for learning how to curl. I think I can be a better curler because of this workshop.”

After the teams were finished with their private sessions there was still time for one more clinic, as over 30 novice and intermediate players joined Martin at the rink. Coaching for another two-hours Martin lead the group through all the nuances of the game, from the different positioning on the hack, broom position when delivering the stone, and sweeping technique.

Scott Cameron participated in the afternoon clinic and was extremely impressed with the way Martin handled himself amongst all of the curlers.

“He is a great communicator, and obviously he knows his stuff, it was a real treat to have someone like Kevin Martin come up here and show us the game of curling,” said Cameron. “I was really impressed because there was a diversity of skill and experience out there. He just floated around, helping everyone out, he was very clear in what he was saying and demonstrating.”

As the session ended the participants took the opportunity to get their pictures taken with Martin, as well as check out his gold and silver medals. The buzz and excitement generated by his clinics was apparent, as talk of technique and strategy reverberated around the curling club, as everyone eagerly anticipates the beginning of their curling season to put their new skills into action.

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