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School of rocks

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Mary-Anne Arsenault was good enough at curling to quit her day job but the world of curling wasn’t lucrative enough to let her do that. For years, the former world champion operated a massage-therapy clinic in Halifax while travelling the world to curl.

Since 2007, she’s been teaching at camps in Moncton to help curlers prepare for the season. The demand for lessons has grown so that prompted her, Russ Howard and Grant Odishaw to start the Academy of Curling, which opened in late August. Arsenault still works a few days a week at her old clinic, but she’d prefer to give it up eventually.

“The hands have to slow down at some point,” she says.

She also knows her competitive career won’t last forever, but she’d like to share some of the “vital knowledge” she’s gained. She says she loves teaching and loves seeing the light bulb go on when she explains something to a student. She’s using iPads to do video analysis, something that is crucial in convincing people to change. “What you feel you’re doing is different from what you actually do,” she says. “The video doesn’t lie.”

Howard says there is real growth potential in providing clinics to the novice player and if it were done well, it would be sustainable because it would encourage more people to stay in the game and reduce the high dropout rate. “You only like what you’re good at,” he says.

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