„You can always expect a lot from Frenzel & Rydzek“
TUESDAY TALK: Ronny Ackermann & Kai Bracht, GER
For the last couple of weeks, it had been quiet around the German Nordic Combined team. High time to check in with coaches Ronny Ackermann and Kai Bracht on how the preparations are going, what to expect from superstars Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek and how the coaching staff is dealing with the pressure of staying on the path of success.
We have seen pictures of a training camp in Planica and a long bike trip on the Adria coast lately. What have you and your team been up to since the season ended?
Bracht & Ackermann: We started the new season with two jumping camps, one at Ramsau am Dachstein and one at Planica. From Planica, we went to Livigno at the Adria coast to do an endurance camp on the bikes. It was a mix between hard work on the roads and some relaxing beach time. It was important to get the good feeling for jumping back on the hill and to work on the endurance levels.
How satisfied are you with the current level of performance in the team?
Bracht & Ackermann: Right now, we have a healthy team. Nobody is dealing with any injuries or sicknesses. This is very important and a good basis for the systematic build-up of the performances. We would say that the general shape of the athletes is good and everybody is back to diligent training now.
What kind of camps are planned for the team in the near future?
Bracht & Ackermann: We have some jumping camps in Germany and Austria on schedule.
At the end of August, the Summer Grand Prix is also taking up space in the calendar. As usual, there will be two German venues with Oberwiesenthal and Oberstdorf. Will there be any specific preparations for the SGP or will you just take it as it comes during the training phase?
Bracht & Ackermann: It is the component of time that prevents us from preparing the Summer Grand Prix in the same way as we would a World Cup or a title event. It is taking place in the middle of the training period, so we just take it as it comes during this time. It is an important indication to determine where the athletes stand and gives pointers to possible tendencies and developments.
With Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek, you have two local heroes competing in Oberwiesenthal and Oberstdorf. How good are these two right now?
Bracht & Ackermann: You can always expect a lot from these two athletes. They will go into the summer competitions with a lot of confidence from the first two ranks in the overall World Cup ranking and Olympic medals. But the rest of the team is also as motivated to perform in front of the home crowd as these two, to show good results and gain confidence for the upcoming season.
Is it very hard to go into the next season after an extremely successful winter last year? As coaches, do you feel pressure or is it rather a special incentive to keep the team on the path of success after Olympic medals and the great finish in the World Cup overall?
Bracht & Ackermann: It’s a mix of both. Nothing has changed about the expectations, be it the ones of us coaches, the leaders in the federation or the fans. These expectations are only met with good results. It is difficult to stay on the path of success and continue to create the framework that enables success in the same way as we did until now. But on the other hand, it’s exactly these topics and assignments which are so fascinating about coaching and working in high performance sports.