The International Congress of Canoeing Coaches is getting closer. It will be held in Catoira, Spain, between 26th and 28th October 2018. This will be the seventh edition of the congress, which primarily focuses on sprint canoeing but this year’s congress brings a novelty – a congress for canoe slalom coaches as well. One of the speakers at the congress will be Jean Michel Prono, chairman of ICF’s Canoe Slalom Committee.
Q: How do you as a chairman of the ICF’s Canoe Slalom Committee welcome inclusion of canoe slalom in the International Congress of Canoeing Coaches?
JMP: This was organiser’s initiative and it is a great initiative joining two Olympic disciplines in a congress. This is not only good to promote slalom better which has never been well presented at international congress. And secondly everybody could take something from another canoeing discipline. Some of the presentations may inspire the other discipline´s participants as long as they could attend. Probably we will have them simultaneously, but anyway – even the informal conversation between participants will be good. For me it is a very, very good initiative and it is in the Olympic spirit.
Q: You already organised seminars for canoe slalom coaches in the past. How important it is for the growth of sport to exchange the opinions?
JMP: The previous seminars we have been organising regularly after every season had two goals. First it was time to meet, exchange and work on the future evolution and every time we tried to have presentations, something that could enrich knowledge of coaches and team leaders. I think this was quite successful, but this one is new and will give another focus on the discipline. Personally I am very proud to have the opportunity to present the evolution of judging and the technology support. This might even inspire the other discipline.
Q: You have now mentioned you will be presenting in Catoira. What will be the main points of your presentation?
JMP: My presentation will be explaining why the discipline has been searching in direction of dealing quicker and better with the results management. And for doing this what was the factor which was the judging and transmission of judging. This has led us to video judging and different ways of inputting the penalties. The idea is to show from what observation we have been starting thinking in making evolution and that has probably also changed the discipline in some way.
Q: So, would you say this video judging system was a game changer for canoe slalom?
JMP: Yes, absolutely. You could see now. We are not using the paperwork anymore. We have freed the judges, we have now judges with different attitude, they are focused on observation, and they have time for a break from a very long concentration. And we could already see the affect of somebody only dedicated to the observation on the course and not to do some writing, alternating with the observation. We feel already the change. The other aspect of that is that we deliver the results, and you may have appreciated this as a media officer, faster. And I would say, we do sometimes still have some small issues, in a more fair way. So that was the main change.
Q: Do you have some plans to even improve the system you use right now?
JMP: We could already see an advantage of the system of the simultaneity of the penalty call, is how we could transmit this to the public. Now on TV you have the graphic giving you the penalty with the gate number, so it is quite comfortable, but on the bank for those people who come to see the sport, we have to provide them the information.
Q: You and your committee members are those who are, let’s say, shaping the future of canoe slalom. Could you give a little insight what are the plans for the future, where canoe slalom is heading?
At the moment no, because we are just initiating a forum of athletes and coaches, together for the first time. The idea was to start brainstorming, we plan to open the platform where all the community, all people could contribute. We still need to define the different items we want to put on this platform, but the idea is to organise a wide consultation and at the end make some statistics and give the line for the Olympic cycle. We want to include athletes, media, officials, organisers, equipment providers… If they all participate on the same brainstorming network we may have a chance to find a global direction where people look. It is very difficult, when you gather 30 people, you have 30 different opinions, but the idea of this platform is to define, design the tendency.
Congress will start on October 26th 2018. Special registration fees are available until 28th September 2018.