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Old 02-20-2018, 10:52 AM   #301
Strange Brew
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Originally Posted by Matt Reeeeead View Post
There's no question that "ice reading" is a skill in itself, but lets be clear here, any elite curler will tell you that bad, unpredictable ice, is an equalizer. It brings a great deal of randomness, luck, and unpredictability in a match.

They are all timing rocks and cleaning paths, but if a spot changes dramatically from shot to shot, or gets soft at an unpredictable time, there isn't really a lot you can do to predict that.

The fact that three of there losses have been on the same sheet, in the same way illustrates that point. If you look at the percentages of shots made yesterday, China wasn't much better. They struggled with similar misses, they just the shots they did make were at the right time.

Anyways, not aiming to be an apologist here, as much as providing a narrative as to what is going on. This isn't a team that is choking or not rising to the occasion. Rachel is by far the most skilled female curler in the world who is struggling with a particular sheet of curling ice. I have some sympathy for that. I do think they haven't handled the situation particularly well mentally and seem more aiming to make excuses than try to fight and adapt as much as possible. Seems like they feel a lot of weight on their shoulders and hard when you dont feel like you are meeting expectations. The rock kicked off against Denmark showed how much pressure they are facing as that was a very uncharacteristic decision, but was glad to see she righted the ship when they faced China and faced a similar circumstance.

You should expect those ice conditions at the club level, but at this point, these types of factors are meant to be removed and make the game more about skill level than trying to predict the unpredictable. Its frustrating for me to here the comments of people (not here, on twitter and people you run in) who really have no clue and just see the results "wow what a terrible shot, how did she miss so bad" or "they are choking so hard". These girls dont miss shots as often or by as much as they are now, and that really is a reflection on ice conditions. Its really annoying on this stage when they are trying to get growth in the sport to put as many obstacles in front of them in performing their best.
Some of these misses are not reading the ice though. The shot that cost them the Danish game was very close to an open hit, where Homan just missed the broom. The sweepers were on it the second she let it go. Miskew's roll out on an open hit against China was the same. Outside the broom the second she let it go.

They are not confident in their decision making which undoubtedly is affected by the ice. But some teams are playing very, very well on the same ice.

No one is calling them chokers. Or at least not here, as you say. But they are not playing well, I really don't see any way around that.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:05 AM   #302
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Some of these misses are not reading the ice though. The shot that cost them the Danish game was very close to an open hit, where Homan just missed the broom. The sweepers were on it the second she let it go. Miskew's roll out on an open hit against China was the same. Outside the broom the second she let it go.

They are not confident in their decision making which undoubtedly is affected by the ice. But some teams are playing very, very well on the same ice.

No one is calling them chokers. Or at least not here, as you say. But they are not playing well, I really don't see any way around that.
Admittedly, I havent seen the losing shot against Denmark. I have heard the same analysis as you stated. Annoying how hard it is to find highlights on that.

I mean, everyone misses the broom "sometimes" and misses happen. You point to two stones there as line misses, and I could point to the fact that they were only in a position to score in the first end because the Chinese second completely flashed a hit in the first end.

My point being, I haven't seen them miss more shots as a result of just alignment misses than I would typically expect. I would suggest that they misses are being more impactful and inflated because the games have been very tight, and each shot is very important. In past games these misses may be happening when they are already up 5 points, or is a shot for three instead of potentially losing the game. The margins are tighter than they normally are.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:21 AM   #303
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Admittedly, I havent seen the losing shot against Denmark. I have heard the same analysis as you stated. Annoying how hard it is to find highlights on that.

I mean, everyone misses the broom "sometimes" and misses happen. You point to two stones there as line misses, and I could point to the fact that they were only in a position to score in the first end because the Chinese second completely flashed a hit in the first end.

My point being, I haven't seen them miss more shots as a result of just alignment misses than I would typically expect. I would suggest that they misses are being more impactful and inflated because the games have been very tight, and each shot is very important. In past games these misses may be happening when they are already up 5 points, or is a shot for three instead of potentially losing the game. The margins are tighter than they normally are.
All good points. But I really do think they are "missing" quite a bit more than you'd expect. I would expect more misses from some of these teams, (like the Chinese second you pointed out) as after all these aren't the best curlers in the world necessarily.

But I'm also thinking back to the mixed. Sure ice conditions may have changed, but draw weight wasn't a big problem for those teams.

I'm not sure the standings look like some random crap shoot in the men's and women's. Homan's team just isn't playing as well as they could IMO.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:30 AM   #304
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Regarding the Homan team, I wonder if any curlers can pipe in. I have a friend who curls a lot, and he has been telling me about Miskew's release for some time now. Her elbow and wrist are bent at awkward angles on the release. When she has to give the rock an extra push for weight, it can change the rock's trajectory quite a bit. I've been watching the team's releases since, and Emma does seem to have weird arm/wrist angles.
What that might be is called a positive release; the curler keeps the arm slightly bent and extends the arm towards the broom after pushing out. This can help you make minor adjustments to aim and weight which can help with accuracy (it's harder to gauge weight with just your legs pushing). It could affect line if you extend wrong (I could never get the hang of it, just sent rocks everywhere), but shouldn't be an issue for curlers that practice a lot with it.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #305
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I've been watching a lot of biathlon replays on the CBC App. That sport is amazing and dramatic. The pressure to hit a target 50 metres away makes regular cross country skiing kind of boring.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:29 PM   #306
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I've been watching a lot of biathlon replays on the CBC App. That sport is amazing and dramatic. The pressure to hit a target 50 metres away makes regular cross country skiing kind of boring.
Particularly after skiing 7.5 KM as quick as you can and being able to settle your breathing to hold it still enough to fire accurately.

Amazing athletes.
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