New coaches: Kalon Dobbin adopted by the Swiss
Kalon Dobbin first left New-Zealand for Europe and the United States. He ran marathons and sprint tournaments ... Yes, yes, the WIC has also organized sprint tournaments with the team Rollerblade in the early 2000s!
Today, he skates for Powerslide. But still, when the time comes for the world championships, he swaps his sponsor suit, for the All Black tunic with pride! Kalon is very popular because he is always smiling and affordable. It is also a loyal skater, very spectacular in short distances. And, since he lives in Switzerland for the speed-skating season (more than six years now), he ended up being adopted by the Helvetii. So much so that he became coach of the national team!
Exceptionally, I am going to use the "I" to start this article. When I started this investigation on new coaches, during the last European Championships in the Netherlands, I had my little list of names in mind. Inevitably, Kalon was in this list.
Sunday noon July 31, completely by chance and when the complex of Heerde dozing under a shy sun, I walked to the track. Three skaters were in action in the banked track: two young on one side and Kalon Dobbin on the other side. As he rolled left, hands on knees, after yet another sprint which he has the secret, I told him jokingly: "You are too old for that! "
He extended full length on the grass in the middle of track and I approached. "Kalon, I would like to write some articles about the former skaters who have now become coaches of national teams: Would you be interested? "
He said "yes" right away. "OK, no problem, but just one thing: I'm not a former skater! "
I forgot the New Zealander was still two feet in his career and he would try to win another medal, or more, in the Yeosu World Championships (September 2011)... As for me! Kalon did not bear a grudge against me... and the following day, I began to question him about his role as coach of the Swiss Team.
"I started this year, but I work for a long time with the Swiss skaters," he says. "I am in charge of many training courses there. I also train Livio Wenger (Junior category)... We just made it official for the European Championships. "
Kalon was not chosen by chance. He skates as a professional for at least fifteen years (he has 34). He knows his subject on the fingertips. He skated with the great names, starting with his father Roy, Bill Begg (New-Zealand), Alain Nègre (France). And of course a multitude of skaters all as good as each other, with his brother Shane, two-time marathon world champion which started ice-skating in 2007. In other words, he necessarily knows the issue of coaching!
"Indeed, the Swiss have chosen me for my experience. They are very strong physically, but they lack of technique and tactics on the track, and I'm here to fix all that. "
Kalon came with eight skaters in Heerde/Zwolle and four girls and four boys. The veteran Martin Hänggi was recalled to supervise the senior team and allow it to participate in the relays.
Seniors and girls have a go, especially in the marathon. But all eyes turned on Livio Wenger.
"About Livio, I'd say: when you're good, you're good! "Kalon launches, who knows his anointed. "He skates with my fellow New Zealander who also reside in Switzerland or nearby, in Germany, part of the year, such as Nicole Begg or Scott Arlidge. He will be the only Swiss skater in South Korea. He is preparing for it with us, nothing changes."
Kalon had set a target of six medals for the European Championships. He missed by one ... In fact, Livio Wenger was at the height as a leader of the Helvetian team: the star of Schenkon won two titles on the road and two bronze medals on the track in long distance races. However, he finished fifth in the marathon.
Kalon reminded us that one of his Junior B had previously won a medal in Italy. The resul remains very correct. And the coach, how does he feel his role? "In fact, I learn about myself, I see the races from a new perspective, I look for solutions, how to beat the others by example ... I hope it will give me ideas for newt the world championships! "
This will be seen soon!
Is this the last challenge of Kalon as a competitor? Certainly not! "I'm going to test me this winter on the ice. We go to Salt Lake City with DJ Nation and Shane [his brother], just to prepare a relay for the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi ... "Definitely, the New Zealander is not too old!
LinksWritten by Vincent Esnault
Translated by Alfathor
Photos: Vincent Esnault