European Championships in Madrid, April 25-30
Twenty-seven years of high level
In search of “someone hyper competent, able to read our discipline with a look from” elsewhere “, Jérôme Careil, the new National Technical Director of French badminton thinks that he has found the chosen one with Thierry Soler (54 years old). “He quickly identified several blockages, some of which asked me questions, but he provided answers. As on the contractualization of objectives. “Or even on the balance to be found between the race for points for the world ranking and the time devoted to the development of the player in training.
“Fallen in love with American football in 1985 at the University of Grenoble”, the former shot putter played there with the Centaurs, before becoming coach of the senior France team then DTN from 2003 to 2013. Sports in the high-level office, he was named DTN for ice sports after the Sochi Olympics. Until September 2016, when he joined Ghani Yalouz at Insep. The former wrestler who revived athletics at Rio 2016 entrusted him with the brand new Performance Pole, in connection with 23 disciplines.
“It’s a challenge for a federation”
If he hesitated at first to take the post of Director of Sports Performance, Thierry Soler ended up being convinced by participating, at the request of Jérôme Careil, in the debrief of the Tokyo Games. The DTN, now established in Tonquédec (22), and which has known Soler for ten years, has thus formed a sacred duo with the Spaniard Fernando Rivas, coach of the Olympic champion and triple world champion Carolina Marin, as senior manager. . “It matched them from the start. Complementary and on the same wavelength, the arrival of one allowed that of the other. »
I don’t come with a truth to turn everything upside down. I position myself in what already exists, I observe and, as collaboratively as possible, I move the lines.
“It is necessarily a challenge for a federation to take someone from outside, does not deny the Isérois. Jérôme considers that it is the right time to request a performance model that has results in young people that must be transformed into medals in seniors. I have the great advantage of arriving with Fernando, who has built a high-performance model. Our duo should make it possible to have more resonance with the bad specialists than if I had arrived alone. I don’t come with a truth to turn everything upside down. I position myself in what already exists, I observe and, as collaboratively as possible, I move the lines, thanks, in particular, to the contacts I already have on the psych follow-up, the mental dimension, the nutrition or the ‘numerical analysis. Of course, sometimes there will be decisions that are a little stronger. »
“Of course there will be resistance”
To put an end to a system where “you won, nothing happened, you lost, nothing changed” (dixit Careil), the DTN relies on the one “who, without being brutal, is able to hold the frame”. “The general organization, the bad players’ long-term development strategy”, this is the mission of Thierry Soler who wants to reassure potential skeptics: “No, I’m not coming to teach them the bad. No more explaining to coaches how to train, than how to play for athletes. This question of legitimacy for those who are not from the seraglio, the sports teacher necessarily addressed it with Ghani Yalouz. “He had an extraordinary experience with the athlete where he knew how to create a France team and an extra soul. These are inspiring things for badminton. We may be in an individual sport, sometimes in competition, the strength of the collective can make people transcend themselves. »
“Of course, there will undoubtedly be resistance from the middle (of badminton). It’s human, says Jérôme Careil. But a bit like me, who doesn’t come from badminton performance (he made a career in training), I don’t claim to know how to have an Olympic medalist, I think I’m capable of creating the conditions to get there. Thierry, perf, he knows his stuff and he can tell us: “That works, that too, but that doesn’t”. We will save precious time. »
Because if the European championships are this week in Madrid for the Blues, the Paris Games are already tomorrow and Los Angeles will arrive very quickly for the golden generation of Gicquel, Popov, Merklé, Lanier.