Recently, USA Curling’s board of directors voted to remove the regional association representing clubs in the Eastern United States, the Grand National Curling Club. We dive into why this happened, what this means, possible resolutions and the next steps for the two organizations. Joining us are Kristen Conrad, vice chair of the GNCC board of directors, and Dean Gemmell, USA Curling’s director of curling development.
Sweden captured four curling medals during the Olympics and Paralympics in 2022, including gold for Niklas Edin. But did this unparalleled success lead to more curlers in the country? We talk to development officer Sara Carlsson to find out all about curling in Sweden: from how their high performance program is set up to the changes they’ve made to recruit new curlers. Sweden has had plenty of wins on the ice. However, we found the most interesting part of the conversation to be the wins they’ve had off the ice and how they’re addressing issues that are common around the world. These include initiatives that they have developed with Dr. Richard Norman and Dr. Heather Mair with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Like the United States, interest in curling soars in Japan during the Olympics. This interest has reached even greater levels following Japan’s bronze medal performance at the 2018 games. Naoki Iwanaga, a former competitive curler from Japan now living in the US, joins us to talk all things Japanese curling. We discuss the differences in curling culture between Japan and the US. Then, we learn about the growth of the sport in Japan and the need for a dedicated curling facility in Tokyo. He also introduces us to the concept of “沼” (meaning pond or swamp) and how it relates to the increased attention on curling during Team Fujisawa’s games.
Some of us might be getting access to practice ice for the first time in 18 months. So how do we make the most of this time before the curling season starts? Our own Professor of Peel, Jonathan Havercroft, is here to let us club curlers know how to organize an efficient curling practice that makes an impact on our game. Among the topics we cover: What drills translate to in-game success? How can teams practice sweeping and communicating? If you’re coaching juniors, how do you keep them from getting bored?
Curling Fitness for Everyone w/ Stephanie Thompson
Stephanie’s Empowered Performance for Curlers Podcast
Coach Glenn Gabriel’s Coaching Kids Curling Podcast
Colin Hodgson on the Brooms and Hacks Podcast
You may not be familiar with Belgium’s international curling representatives. And that’s perfectly fine. What you need to be aware of is curling is growing in Belgium thanks to a focus on making it a fun, social experience. We talked with Gery Hermans of Curling Club Zemst about the growth of the sport in Belgium. He also tells us about the obstacles they overcame to fund and build their facility. It may be a while before you see Belgian curlers on any podiums. However, you won’t regret putting Belgium on you bonspiel calendar.
Fort Wayne Curling Club has had an interesting history. The club in northeast Indiana starting curling on skating ice in 2010. Since then, they’ve moved not once, but twice to two different dedicated curling rinks. How did this club go from arena ice to a three-sheet dedicated facility to another four-sheet facility? We asked president Craig Fischer about the club’s journey and about the obstacles they overcame to achieve their dreams.
Our interview with Craig starts at 23:15. First, we go through curling news from Switzerland to Saskatoon. We also preview the upcoming Korean curling championships, starting at 10:05.
And now for something completely different. Author and pro beach volleyball player Travis Mewhirter joins the show to discuss that sports’ growing pains since joining the Olympics. How alike are the two sports? Well, beach volleyball joined the Games around the same time and features self-formed teams in a tour-based system. They even had a player boycott in the 90s. We’ll learn about their successes and challenges and how we can apply them to curling.
Bobby Torres from the Curling Club at Penn State joins us to discuss his recent Growth of Curling Survey. It’s a fascinating look at how real curlers feel curling clubs can improve. We talk about learn-to-curl opportunities, marketing to the next generation and the unorthodox ways his club is attracting new members. Also, Jonathan and Ryan settle-up on their bad beer bet with the Game of Stones podcast.
If your curling club doesn’t have an email newsletter, it should.
This doesn’t mean that you occasionally email the members of your club to let them know that registration is open or that snow has canceled that night’s games. A good email newsletter does inform, but it also strengthens the connection between members and the club and turns your potential members into new curlers.
Social media is a great tool that allows for authentic communication between your club and the community, but email marketing is where you can turn casual followers into members. According to OptinMonster, 60% of consumers have made purchases as the result of a marketing email, compared to 12.5% on social media. In addition to this, curling clubs are already at an advantage because “hobbies” and “sports” have some of the highest open rates and click through rates across all industries.
It’s easy to start including email as part of your curling club’s marketing plan and use it to help grow your membership numbers.
We have two special guest hosts this episode: Ontario-turned-England curler Rob Retchless and English junior curler Felix Price. Rob talks changing affiliations to England, Ontario’s curling scene and prioritizing life and family over curling. You may remember Felix from our etiquette episode. He’s back to help Ryan make fun of Jonathan, preview the World Mixed Curling Championship and talk about licking rocks.