FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Elks Speed Skating Camp kicked off today at 8:30 a.m.
The camp has approximately 57 skaters from all over B.C. and Northern Alberta trying to hone their skills.
Featured at the camp are guest coaches Arno Hoogveld and Denny Morrison. Hoogveld is the head speed skating coach at the University of Calgary while Morrison is a four-time Olympic medalist from right here in the Energetic City.
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Hoogveld explained that much of the camp will focus on improving the skaters’ decision making and technique.
“The rule of thumb is that it doesn’t matter how strong they are off the ice, if they don’t have the technique then they’re not going anywhere,” said Hoogveld.
Hoogveld added that the camp gives coaches like himself an excellent chance to scout the next generation of skaters.
“It’s a chance for us as coaches to get to see whats coming up and maybe something missing. We see skaters from all of Canada come into the oval program, some of them are lacking certain details in the program but now we have the choice to show them what is needed at a higher level.”
Denny Morrison, fresh off the Winter Olympics and a knee surgery, explained he was taking more of a classroom role than an on-ice one.
“I can get really, really, ridiculously technical about speed skating with the ideas and the theory behind why we do what we do,” said Morrison. “I hope I can share my passion for the sport that I have shared on ice via my competition for so many years.”
Morrison went on to say that speed skating takes a psychological impact and he hopes to get the skaters through that come to the end of the camp.
“One of the things we shared this morning was talking about the Psychology, nerves, and anxiety before a big competition. Letting them know that this was my fourth Olympics and I still felt that way before.”
“Its a matter of practicing feeling that way and getting comfortable feeling that way. You’ll get better at feeling that way and you’ll get better at making consistent performances in high pressure and high anxiety moments.”
The camp runs through August 24th at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.