Cross-Country Talk: Ivan Hudac (SVK)
In May, Ivan Hudac of Slovakia became the coach for team Switzerland. After almost two months in the position FIS Cross-Country News talked to Ivan about the new job with Swiss Ski, coaching Dario Cologna and pressure on good results.
Q: Ivan, were you surprised to receive a phone call from Swiss Ski with a job offer?
Ivan Hudac: I was very surprised. I did not plan to accept any coaching job offer. My plan was to relax and change my way of life after many years of coaching. Also the Polish Ski Association was interested to continue the cooperation. When Swiss Ski came and offered me the job I knew it will be a big challenge and I could not say no.
Q: How were you first days with the team?
I.H.: I was very warmly welcomed. During the first training camp in Sardinia we got to know each other. It is always difficult to start anything new. There have been many new things for me and also for the Swiss team. I have been trying to bring several new things in training. The reception from the guys has been very good.
Q: What kind of novelties are you going to implement in the team?
I.H.: There are a few new things in training and training processes. The biggest change that has happened is that both sprinters and distance skiers train together. Naturally they have differences in training but we work together. At the end of the summer we will analyse the results and decide which way we go further.
Q: Dario Cologna is the biggest star of the Swiss team. How is it like to be coaching the Olympic Champion? Does he have any reserves?
I.H.: Everybody has reserves; everybody can get better and develop. For an athlete it is start of the end to be satisfied with the current level. Dario is a great athlete, with great motivation and commitment to the sport. He is fully concentrated. He is a proof that a superior athlete is at the same time a very good coach. He knows what he needs in training. He understands what is good for him. On the other hand an external help and support from a coach is very important and that’s my role.
Q: What about the rest of the team?
I.H.: The team is full of potential. They have the capacity to break through to the top. Guys like Curdin Perl, Toni Livers, Jonas Baumann, Joeri Kindschi, Gianluca Cologna, Jovian Hediger and Ueli Schnider, all of them have done a great job and worked a lot to get where they are. We have a very strong team with a solid base on which we can build on.
Q: Last season was very successful for Dario Cologna. What are the goals for the next winter? Do you feel big pressure on good results?
I.H.: Everyone in the team has individual goals and possibilities. I do not think about the pressure. I am creating it by myself. I have always worked 100% and my personal expectations and goals are much higher than anybody else’s. As I said before, we have a strong team and one of the main goals is a big success in team events, relay and team sprint.