Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Asian teams at the worlds

This is going to sound sexist and a bit revisionist, but I did start this after the Women's worlds and kept forgetting to finish it.

At this year's women's world championships, China won silver and Japan won bronze. It's been hailed as a triumph of the asian pros. Meaning, the women from China and Japan don't have day jobs. They just curl (sort of like us back in juniors).

The thinking here is this: if you can simply curl all the time, you'll get good. it's the Rockstar curling theory. Take players, have them throw rocks 8 hours a day, and they can win.

In women's. The women's game of curling is different. I'm not sure why, but I am sure it's different. First of all, Men can throw it a lot harder. The guy currently representing Canada throws it harder, with more accuracy, than any player on the planet. Period. I would wager that the next 1000 people who throw it hard, and accurate, are men.

That makes it different. But there's another element that makes it different, because throwing it hard doesn't mean wins (see Howard, Glenn).

I dare say it's something in the noggin, but I've sat with really accomplished women's curlers who've talked in a smart way about the game. Women just think a bit different.

It's not a bad thing. I'm sorta glad Autumn will think a bit different than I do.

I've said all this for this reason: Asian teams will no medal at the men's world championship for a while. They might get so technically good that they can make a lot of shots, but in the men's game, that's only part of the battle. The other part is calling the right one. There's a bigger cost in Men's curling to the wrong shot being called than there is in women's curling.

I'm not sure why, but there is.

I think the Bear will get his world's, but you have to think there's a bit of pressure on him.

Add to Mixx!


JFB said...

Dammit. Every fibre of my being wants to disagree with you. For example, IMO, China would've had a good chance to beat Canada in the final but for an early bad call that threw them off kilter. Kelly Scott would've won the 2007 Olympic Trials if it wasn't for a huge brain cramp in the 10th (although she went on to do a fair bit since then so whatevah). The woman who called and threw the greatest game ever was rewarded with Worlds titles and Olympic gold medals. Norberg, too, calls a solid game and enjoyed solid success, dominance even.

So, man or woman, I want to conclude that good strategy plus execution breeds results.

But then you pick up some past STOH tapes and see women's team that had great success despite habitual bad calls (see Jones, Colleen; Darte, Marilyn). Sadly, it appears women are more likely to roll over to a bigger name and let them get away with it.

This isn't the last you'll hear from me about this!

Oh, p.s. I think Amy Nixon throws it pretty hard, at least hard enough to make the top 1,000.

Matt. said...

Amy Nixon maybe. Nicole Joraanstad (who i once coached)throws it mightily too. Originally I wrote 100, but then changed it. That's not the point though.

In watching both games, there seems to be a bigger cost to making bad calls in mens.

But yes, lets argue. I think this could be a column.

JFB said...

Here's a new twist just for the fun of it.. mixed. I know it's not the money game but still.

Last night I was sparing in a club game and the skip of my team called what IMO was a terrible call in the first end. I actually could hardly believe it. But, not being my team, I kept my mouth shut and swept the thing. He didn't make it the way he wanted to but he basically made the shot.

The opposing skip, possibly stunned by the strategy, missed his and suddenly we have a shot for four. Which our guy made.

I have seen this a lot in mixed (way more than in ladies') and I have to say I hate it when that happens! There is absolutely no learning there. The terrible strategy continues.

Just saying.

JFB said...

Oops -- I had a brain cramp myself in that first post. Make that the 2005 trials. Wow, has it really been that long?