World Cup in ski jumping – Długopolski on the Poles’ chances: we still only have 3-4 certainties

“We still only have 3-4 certainties, and I was counting on greater progress of our remaining representatives,” admitted long-time FIS judge and coach Kazimierz Długopolski before the inaugural Ski Jumping World Cup competition, which will take place in Ruka, Finland, this weekend.

“I have some concerns about this season for the white and red team, because we still only have three or four certainties. This and they are still the same names,” Długopolski told PAP, who admitted that he carefully watched the Poles’ actions in the Summer Grand Prix competition, where Piotr Żyła, Dawid Kubacki and Aleksander Zniszczoł placed in the top seven.

“But Kamil Stoch only started twice, so it’s difficult to ess his fitness. However, these are still the same players and it’s a pity that +only+ they are at the forefront. I was counting on greater progress of our other representatives. However, the results obtained in the summer somehow translate into the World Cup, so that’s why I’m concerned whether the best, not the youngest, will be able to handle the entire season on their own,” noted a long-time FIS referee in Nordic combined and ski jumping.

This fact also worries the trainer regarding the future of Polish ski jumping.

“Fortunately, there are not fewer people willing to practice this discipline, but the current potential is slowly starting to run out, and the younger ones – well, unfortunately I don’t see as many talents as our current top players. In my opinion, those I counted on did not reach the higher level that could have been expected of them and to which they were predisposed,” he noted.

He added that juniors who showed good performance at this year’s world championships in Whistler can give some hope. The bronze medal was won individually by Jan Habdas, and the team, which also included Marcin Wróbel, Klemens Joniak and Kacper Tomasiak, took second place.

“The word +can+ is key here, because we have already had such a situation many times. There is still a lot of hard work ahead of them, but also ups and downs, let’s hope they can do it,” Długopolski noted.

At the same time, he admitted that the lack of “successors to champions” is not only a Polish problem.

“All teams have this – there is an outpouring of talent, followed by a smaller or larger crisis. However, if there is a fry and we work with him well from the bottom, then several promising names appear again,” he mentioned.

When asked what can be done to make these names not only promising, but also enter the top ranks and stay there for longer, an experienced ski jumping and Nordic combined coach said that coaches working in clubs have had a good recipe for this for a long time.

“Greater contact between the national team’s training staff and us, who have been working with the players for many years and simply know them inside out. The coach must be able to reach the athlete, because one thing works for one player and something completely different for another. An example is Adama Małysz. The staff sensed what he needed to develop, but they failed with such undoubted talents as Robert Mateja or Wojtek Skupień,” recalled the Olympian from Sapporo (1972) and Lake Placid (1980).

So maybe we should, for example, seek the support of a psychologist more often?

“In many cases, probably yes, but a coaching guru, who in my opinion is Mika Kojonkoski, always says that the best psychologist is the coach. Of course, if he is willing to get to know each player and has a sense of, for example, appropriate motivation. And I completely agree with this opinion,” Długopolski concluded.

  1. The World Cup season will begin in Ruka, Finland. Initially, 58 players from 14 countries are registered, including five white and red players: Kubacki, Stoch, Żyła, Zniszczoł and Paweł Wąsek. (PAP)

Author: Joanna Chmiel


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