Druce likes what he sees

Canoe Slalom / Sep 17, 2013

Head coach Mike Druce says Australia has earned its number one status in C1.

“Overall I’m really pleased,” Druce said.

“We’ve made a really great statement about the commitment we’ve made to women’s canoeing, and the commitment those women have made to pushing the sport forward.

They’ve really lead the way internationally and have really crusaded to have this women’s event to be taken seriously.”

Druce says there’s plenty to be pleased about across the board.

“We have stepped up, but it doesn’t feel like we’ve fully realised our potential,” he said.

“There’s been lots of quick times, but more penalties than we would have liked. But it’s much easier to work on that. To have fast athletes who can win medals and work on accuracy, is much better than to have athletes who don’t have the pace.”

“Across the other disciplines we would have liked another medal perhaps, and more people in the finals, but at this stage in the Olympic cycle we’re really looking for improvements in our speeds and our racing, and we’ve seen that over this season,” Druce said.

“Getting everyone through to semi-finals shows that across the whole team there’s strong improvement. There’s a lot of positives there.

The results could have been better, we had some near misses, we probably had some bad luck with judging, but that’s part of the sport.  We have to train to not be in those positions. That’s part of the sport that we have to make it easy for the judges. If you’re always paddling in a way that makes it difficult to judge then occasionally its going to go against you.”

One area where Druce believes the team can improve even further is mental toughness.

“I think it’s always something you can do more on, and its one of the things that separates the true great performers in our sport,” Druce said.

“We definitely can get better at that, but I’d say this year, that competitive spirit and that willingness to really commit fully and take it to the course has been much better across the group.

“It’s something we have worked on, and there’s definitely improvement this year but it’s not something we’re going to be complacent about because we need to be better again at that. On race day that’s the real separator.’

The team will have about three weeks off when they get back to Australia, but Druce and his coaching team are buoyant about what’s coming up.

“The restructure that we’ve had, all of the coaches are able to work a lot more effectively with the athletes, with a great support team around them, and we’ve got a young team,” he said.

“It’s not everything that we wanted, but it’s a good direction, pretty positive, so we’re happy with the way we’ve come out of it.”