For this series, USA Nordic will be checking in with coaches of each discipline to get a pulse on Summer training. For our last interview, we check in with Bine Norcic, longtime director of the men’s ski jumping team.
When did your athletes start arriving to Europe?
Start of July
How did the first jumps on the hill look?
As usual some athletes needed some time, because of Covid situation we started training later than normal. Due to travel restrictions, we started even later than other nations.
Were you surprised by the level your athletes started at given the odd offseason?
I would say the video (zoom) training we had during the quarantine time kept the athletes in pretty good shape that’s why the later start was easier. I am happy the athletes took that different start of the season really seriously and the majority came to Europe in great physical shape.
In what aspect of training do you feel your athletes fell behind due to Covid-19?
Maybe lack of jumping, but we aren’t going to panic. For now we can see only Wisla Grand Prix will happen, so we have enough time to do some testing etc.
How does this summer’s training plan look different than normal?
We try to keep the normal rhythm as any normal season or preparatory period. Maybe the travel situation is different, but our intention is to lower the stress for the athletes and provide all needed documentation for smooth boarder crossing. At that point I would also like to thank FIS (Ms. Sarah Lewis and Mr. Sandro Pertile) for helping us out with the most needed documentation.
Have you been testing equipment on the jump hill yet this summer? If not, when will that happen?
We have done some testing already but because of Grand Prix cancelation, we want to have a good testing plan and not rush forwards.
When is the next competition and who will be competing there?
22nd and 23rd of August we have Wisla, the only Grand Prix of the season and we will send over Andrew Urlaub, Decker Dean and Matthew Soukup from Canada. We are still collecting some documentation so our travel through Schengen borders will run smooth and without complications.
Do you feel your athletes are prepared to compete on a high level right now?
It is a different preparatory season and as I mentioned before, we started (because of travel restrictions) it later than others. We are still not 100% but I am really positive and happy about the athletes motivation and hard work and that’s why we decided to send them to Grand Prix. It will be good motivation but we know we still have some work to do.
Do you have any goals for this upcoming competition period?
As I mentioned before we still have some work to do, especially because this season we have some addition expert help (physical coach Matjaz Polak and physiotherapist Urban Jarc) who will bring changes to the team. We are really excited to get them on our side and are positive we will get the athletes on the right level on time.
Who have you been most impressed with on the hill so far this summer?
I would say with the whole team, they try to make some changes which are needed to come to the higher level. Some are more perceptive for changes some need some time but everyone has a positive attitude and energy so that’s important.
Is there anything new you have integrated into the athletes training programs this Summer?
Yeah we got additional help with the new physiotherapist Urban Jarc and physical coach Matjaz Polak. They both were involved in the best couple of seasons the Slovenia team had when Peter Prevc won the overall world cup. They brought into the team some bigger changes and we know with their help we can have one of our best seasons.
Have your athletes been training on the hill with Slovenian World Cup jumpers? Do you feel it is beneficial for them to be on the hill with those high level athletes?
Yes we are training most of the time together. They allow us, because of the limited number of persons on each session, to train together with them. I think it’s also good for them to have some comparison while we are the only other nation training here in Slovenia.
It’s fun to see the team getting to enjoy the beautiful country of Slovenia. Tell me about your camping experience recently!
We had some good days training sessions in Planica and afterwards we decided to go straight to BOHINJ and do some relaxation camping. There was hiking, running , stretching, fishing and it was a great mental relaxation after one month of hard training.
We all understand it’s important to motivate and at the same time relax the athletes especially after spending most of the time away from home and their families.
What does the rest of the Summer/Fall look like training wise leading into the Winter season?
We split the summer season into two camps. In between summer or preparatory period, athletes will fly home (End of Aug) for two or three weeks and then back to Europe and stay here until the end of the winter season. Current travel situation is not easy and we are trying to manage travel and quarantine time as best as possible.