Canadian Sport Institute Calgary - Nathan Smith won a silver medal at the 2015 World Championships in Finland and quickly followed up with a gold at a World Cup in Russia two weeks later. He is the first Canadian male to win a medal at World Championships in biathlon! Nathan's words after his first big win were: "It was a break through performance for me. I am very proud and also happy to share it with our team after all the hard work everyone has put in."
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary started working with the national biathlon team two quadrennials ago. The purpose was to assist them in planning and training implementation that over the long term would result in podium performances at Olympic Games and World Championships. In the last quadrennial, biathletes reached the podium in world cup events and put in a strong performance in Sochi and so now to actually achieve a podium performance in the World Championships is a testament to this long term plan.
Nathan notes that the performance was a team effort. "I've been working with CSIC almost since I started biathlon. Back then it was mostly blood tests and training planning input for my coaches. As our team continued to improve, CSIC definitely became more and more involved with our day-to-day training."
Matthias Ahrens is the long time coach for Biathlon Canada and the team is centralized in Canmore. Matthias notes that the team utilizes the services of the CSIC exercise physiologist, Jessica Kryski who provides a testing service as well as monitoring information around training sessions. One of the technologies used in Canmore is the rollerski treadmill, which has been very helpful in specific race simulations. This training has allowed the biathletes to build sport specific volume and aerobic power over many years.
In the weight room, the team works with CSIC strength coach Anna Aylwin who designs and implements programs for the team. In addition, Dr. Smith, long-time exercise physiologist for CSIC has over the years overseen the yearly training plan (YTP), which includes altitude training and peaking periodization. Matthias believes he has one of the best support teams in the world working with the biathlon team.
Nathan says "Jessica puts us through our paces on the treadmill and during lactate tests. Anna commutes to Canmore for our strength sessions twice a week to make sure our backs stay limber and that our moves look good during warm-up." For the head coach Matthias, "it has been very beneficial to our program to have these specialists work with us over the years."
On March 7th, when Nathan stepped on the podium at the World Championships, and again on March 21st at the World Cup, the team of specialists located in Calgary were probably as excited as the athlete and the coach! It was a big win for the program and reinforced that things do work out by sticking to a well laid out plan.
Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Photo by Dave Holland: @csicalgaryphoto