Well with the end of 2009 brings with it a chance to reflect on the last season. A fairly successful year and an extremely busy one. Looking back our Junior and Senior Women competed in 15 different countries in 2009. (Alphabetically: Austria, Azerbijian, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, India, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela). We were also involved in training camps with many of the top wrestling nations in the world.
The fall is always filled with lots of evaluation and performance analysis... a time to review and reflect on the Women's National Program and determine its strengths and weaknesses. I am very encouraged when i take a step back and look at the season through various looking glasses. I am very excited to see the commitment of many of our top coaches across the country to coaching women. This has been a strength of the Canadian System in my opinion and when you look at the quality of coaches on the Women's side at the World's (Junior and Senior), as well as Pan Ams, and many other tours it is very promising. The strong support and professionalized training regime our women follow throughout the country really helps us to be so tough on the international stage.
Every year after the Senior Worlds i analyze our performances to try and look for patterns. This years we had some very positive performance indicators. We ended up winning 19 matches versus 7 losses at the worlds this year. Against nations in the top ten we actually won 79% of the bouts (which to me says we are not intimidated by any draw). This was also the first year that we have not had a lossing record against any nation in the world! In other years at least one nation (usually Japan, or China) would have a better record head to head at the world championships. No nation beat us more than we beat them this year! (Against the top five nations we were 1-0 vs AZE, 2-1 vs Japan, 1-1 vs UKR, 1-1 vs RUS). Also of great significance to me was our win-loss ratio of three round matches. We won 5 out of 6 matches that went three rounds at the Worlds (or 86%). I believe this is a testament to our athletes no quit attitude and their physical and mental conditioning! Five of the seven matches we lost were to eventual medalists, and a sixth was top 5. This is consistent with the last few years, in that if we do get beat, it is usually only to the very top ranked people in a given weight class. (Or in general we do not lose to weak performers). Our offense compared to the all other nations was the highest scoring at this years Senior Worlds! Yet our defensive efficiency was the 6th ranked (yet very consitent over the last few seasons). I believe this shows (in general) our Canadian Women's style is a "Get after it" style... We try to make things happen and not get sucked into the 0-0 clinche game which nobody really can control!
We finished up 2009 with a very interesting trip to India for the Commonwealth Championships... The new year starts with a winter camp with our greatest ally and a great rival, The United States. The USA has a tremendous Women's Program and annually we train at least twice with their team. A number of years back Terry Steiner (US Women's Coach) and I sat down and discussed our need to work together to strengthen our programs. We do not have the advantage of geography that Europe or Asia has. So it is imperative that we not hide from each other and push each others teams (in a positive way). By avoiding training and competition together both programs will suffer from a lack of true challenge, and this will ultimately hurt us at the highest level.
January 3rd we will start 2010 with our first training camp of the year. I am very excited to get to work with about 25 of our top Women's athletes. I am also excited to have Marty Calder and Gia Sissouri attending this years camp! The upcoming season will hold many new challenges and opportunities for our women wrestlers. Ultimately all our experiences are leading toward London and the 2012 Olympics!
Highlights of the 2010 season will include: Senior World Championships in Moscow Russia, Junior World Championships in Budapest Hungary, and University World Championships in Turin Italy. In October we have the Commonwealth Games in New Dehli india (Which includes all 7 womens weigh classes)! I am looking forward to building on the successes of the past leading toward a future that is very very bright!
Thanks to all those that helped make it happen in 2009! I challenge our team to do even better in 2010!!!