Scotland's very best teams are members of the Elite Squad and are supported by the Scottish Institute of Sport. The next 'layer' are the eight teams which make up the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's National Academy Squad and they met at the weekend at sportscotland's National Centre at Inverclyde. As described previously, the National Academy has evolved from the National Junior Squad and involves more than junior teams. This year the National Academy includes one 'older' team, skipped by Alan Smith who is 32. Also in the squad is Logan Gray's side which is just out of juniors, and junior teams skipped by Anna Sloan, Eve Muirhead, Claire Hamilton, Glen Muirhead, Jamie Dick and Greg Drummond. All are members of various Area Institutes of Sport.
Alan Smith has had to make a change to his lineup for this season because of injury to Ross MacDonald. David Reid joins the team as second with Mark Fraser at lead and Neil McArthur at third.
Lectures and practicals from John Bradley (exercise physiologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport) and Mandy Belch (physiotherapist on the curling programme at the Scottish Institute of Sport) were complemented by talks from Tom Pendreigh on 'The modern world of curling equipment and practices' and from Andrea Faull (sports psychologist with the Scottish Institute of Sport) on 'Mind over matter'. Team activity games and team building activities filled up a packed two day programme. The weekend was organised by the Royal Club's Performance Development Coach Nancy Murdoch (right).
Top: RCCC President Tommy Hinnigan and Ladies Branch President Patricia Thompson join National Academy athletes, team coaches, lecturers and trainers outside sportscotland's National Training Centre at Inverclyde. Middle: Team Smith L-R Mark Fraser, David Reid, Neil McArthur and Alan Smith. Above: Physiotherapist Mandy Belch in action in a training session with the athletes, RCCC President Tommy Hinnigan observing in the background.
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