For you, the Spotyride team met (virtually of course!) the current Head of the French Water Ski and Wakeboard teams, Mr. Sebastien Cans.
Here is his exclusive interview: Mission, Training, High level and Championships are at the heart of this exchange.
Hello Sebastien, could you first introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, I am Sebastien Cans, 47 years old. I discovered water-skiing by chance, and then in a classic way: club detection, league, national youth competitions. I then made the choice to go to the USA, imagining a reconversion as a trainer. In parallel to my 15 years in the French Open team (in combination between 1994 and 2005), I passed a first BEA diploma following an injury & a rethinking. I really liked the mental and physical preparation and I continued the second degree during my years as a competitor to finish with a sports teacher.
Today, I am seconded from the Ministry of Sports to the FFSNW since 2004*. I joined the National Technical Direction which includes 7-8 people.
Oriented to water skiing, I then did some Wakeboarding as a hobby and my little brother Benjamin was a Wake Skate competitor. I’ve always had the sensitivity to go and see what’s going on in Wakeboarding.
* Sébastien Cans finished his rear in 2005 with a lot of titles in his pocket…
What does your job as a national technical advisor involve?
Not being in a structure on a daily basis, my job is more like management, logistics and budget management than technique or training.
Since last year (last quarter), I was given the responsibility of all the high level disciplines (Water Ski, Wakeboard Bateau and Wakeboard Cable). I am responsible for managing the groups with technicians, doctors, physiotherapists to the international championships.
There are several national technical advisors, how do you divide the work, what are your missions to each?
There is a National Technical Direction directed by Grégory SAINT-GENIES with 6 executives with different missions:
- Development (club structures, subsidies & certification) for Marie-Christine OKEL
- Training (federal and state diplomas) for Styve PERON
- Development of the federal cable under construction in Paris (Choisy) for Franck CHOCUN
- Training of the French teams for Christophe DUVERGER
- High level (Follow-up of athletes, extracurricular activities & obligations related to their status) for Marianne OUDAR
- Coordination of high level disciplines for Sébastien CANS
How is the training of young people for the high level going?
We must first identify the young people. We use the results of previous years to see who is likely to be eligible for the European Championships up to the World Open Championships. The level of young people is quite impressive. They enter figures of a fairly strong level (In wakeboarding as in Water Skiing).
There is no magic formula and above all there is a different approach for each sport:
- Water skiing is a standardized discipline, with points in figures, buoys in slalom, meters in jumps, even if the configuration of the site has a little influence, this remains minimal and the results are comparable. These are figures that can be tracked.
For Wake, it is difficult to compare the performance figures from one event to another.
- Despite everything, the world ranking (As in tennis) works with a points system. Depending on the competitions in which they are present, the athletes score points. The more the competition counts, the more chances they have of winning points. You have to take a step back from this system because it is not very egalitarian for young people (If parents cannot get them to structures far with a lot of points and often, this can be detrimental to their ranking).
Then you have to define a project with the whole team. A sports policy which is partly based on the budget. The young people then train locally and participate in the courses and “Performance Workshops” of the French team organized by the FFSNW. Each course or workshop has a specific objective: awareness of injuries, active recovery, technique, work on the rules with judges, rules of life and functioning in the French team.
How do you choose the locations for the France team’s internships and competitions?
There are sites more or less efficient in relation to the configuration, the typology, the surf waves. We try to see according to age and level categories to influence the choice. Each club has more or less its favorite field. When it is higher level, certain facilities are required, such as slaloms for skiing, a springboard or specific modules. In a very High Level boat, this is a problem given the cost.
For national courses, these are affiliated structures. In cable, we will have to offer this kind of offer if the structures are voluntary. They can have personal, commercial or other motivations. Most important is the message. For this booming and dynamic discipline, there is only the High Level. We have to fight against a certain form of individualism. It is the strength of the whole community that will move things in the right direction.
There is also a certain expectation from athletes about quality which leads to making choices. This is my role. I am listening. I want to be a force of proposal in the respect of a framework and with an accompaniment which must take into account the life project to apprehend the results in competition with more serenity.
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