- Zakopane, Poland
More than 25 youth skaters from six countries took part in the first Speed Skating ISU World Development Trophy in Zakopane, Poland. The week from February 24 to March 3 2014 was filled with the Olympic atmosphere of the just ended XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
The presence of Polish Olympians from Sochi including Katarzyna Wojcicka, Katarzyna Wozniak and Konrad Niedzwiedzki was a good motivation for young competitors and participants. This great atmosphere in the resort at the foot of the Tatra Mountains resulted in a great mixture of willingness to learn and improve performance.
The high quality of the camp was ensured by the presence of international Speed Skating authorities. The event was led in cooperation with György Sallak (ISU Development Coordinator), Mrs Jildou Gemser (ISU Speed Skating Technical Committee) and the Polish Speed Skating Association. The weekly program contained joint trainings on and off ice and coaches’ seminars on various topics held every evening. During the week moderators worked with the skaters both on ice and off ice on the basics of speed skating such as knee control, balance and a general skating technique. The coaches’ seminars were held in the evenings and covered such topics as material support, training methods and the analysis of a skating technique.
Swedish coach Andreas Larsson and Marek Stanuch the project coordinator took part in motivating youngsters and providing them with great opportunities to better their performances. Coaches of individual teams discussed their training methods daily at a special ‘Coaches Clinic’. All the methods were practically demonstrated and thoroughly discussed with the experts. The camp ended with the ISU World Development Trophy competition held on Sunday. Each participant raced individual 500 and 1000 meters, and the competition ended with a mixed team pursuit. The purpose of the mixed team pursuit was to give the skaters from smaller nations a chance to participate in a team event.
The mixture of Speed Skating training, competition and friendship prevailed. The event gave the young Speed Skaters valuable experience and motivation for further development and future successes.