The news released over the last couple of days about the Elite Scotland Squad and new National Academy, and about the curlers receiving support under these banners, is only part of the Royal Club's Performance Development Plan 2007-20011. The plan has received support from partners sportscotland, Scottish Institute of Sport, the Area Institutes, UKSport and British Curling Ltd.
I note three other areas where changes will influence the sport. First of these is in team coaching support. Currently what team coaches there are are unpaid volunteers who only receive travel expenses and per diems when at events. The new plan will see support for up to twelve coaches, four at the Elite level, and eight at National Academy level. This support will extend to travel to competitions, honoraria and expenses, and training and development.
Secondly, the fledgling Regional Academy structure is to get increased support. The curlers supported under this scheme have not yet been announced, the names expected next month.
Lastly, the Development Plan gives an inkling of what is in the minds of those planning for British representation at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, assuming we qualify, of course. The second year of the Plan 2008-2009 has provision for support of two GB Olympic Squads of 6-8 players, under the Elite banner, while continuing to support two Scottish men's and two women's teams. The following year 2009-2010 the support will be for two GB Teams (5 or 6 players in each), in addition to continuing support for the four Scottish teams.
Given that details of the Olympic campaign are yet to be announced by British Curling Ltd (expected later in the summer), these proposals in the RCCC Performance Plan go some way to addressing the deficiencies in what happened in the last Olympic Cycle. It looks as if the squad selection process is to continue, but that was expected. Last time, the selection of the actual teams for the Olympics was decided too late, and one consequence of this was that four women curlers who had never even played one game together before were sent out to represent Scotland at the European Championships.
Last time the resources of the Scottish Institute and National Coach were diverted entirely to the GB squads, and Scottish curlers and curling took second place and suffered as a consequence. That's been covered in the New Performance Plan which has continuing support for top Scottish teams during the Olympic cycle.
The above is short on detail, and I guess we will have to be patient until British Curling Ltd reveals their plans.
A look back at the European Championships 1997 - The European Championships twenty years ago were held in Fussen, Germany, December 6-13, 1997. That's the winners, above. The women's champions were (L-R)...
2 days ago