Manage the time to keep the passion of synchro alive
Nova Junior last year at Winterfest. (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2020)
Train solo, work, study at home, stay away from friends... The pandemic is shaking up the daily lives of many synchro skaters. Discover how Nova Junior from Canada manages the situation.
"We have no idea of the resumption of activities. We can't wait for the pandemic to be behind us," said Nadine Tougas, head coach of the Nova Junior team since its creation in 2016.
The skaters are between 16 and 19 years old, and the majority have several years of experience in synchronized skating. Among the regular coaches, Nova Junior can count on Dominic Barthe (assistant coach - skills, turns, transition steps), Laurence Darveau (physical training and power skating), Joannie Papillon (interpretation), Vera Gauthier (flexibility), and Alex Aubé (physical trainer). This coaching staff is completed by Marie-France Sirois (choreographer), Patricia Roy (nutritionist), and Véronique Richard for mental preparation.
"Knowing this characteristic, the team was very motivated for a long time despite the pandemic. However, when the cancellations of the qualifications and the Canadian championships were announced, it deeply affected the girls. Since then the motivation is more difficult, as well as commitment. We succeed because the skaters in this team are invested. Competitions are usually the culmination of their efforts so, without events, personal accomplishment is more difficult to create! " she continues.
What is more complicated is not knowing how long this will all last. "Planning over time is almost impossible and unpredictable. It isn't easy to maintain motivation when you do not know. Given the frequent changes in our government's instructions, we are always in the unknown and uncertainty. It's a shame, but we understand, " continues Nadine Tougas.
"We were able to finish the two programs in its creation but were not able to work on all the elements due to the sanitary restrictions which did not allow it", explains Nadine Tougas.
The short-term goals of Nova Junior skaters are to maintain what they have learned (flexibility, physical condition). They hope to return to the ice to train as a team and do synchronized skating in the medium term. Finally, in the longer term, the coach is considering a return to competitions and obtaining good rankings to reach the World Junior Championships.
The coach is also delighted to see that, over time, her athletes have acquired several technical skills, confidence and a deep desire for success.
"I hope that we will return to skating within a reasonable time. Despite the situation, I am a positive person, so my dream remains that this magnificent sport will one day be represented at the Olympic Games."