The inauguration of the 2023/2024 ski jumping season is behind us. Stefan Kraft, who won both competitions, is in great shape. Kraft dominated the opening of the season in a similar style to the Poles last year. This year, however, the Polish national team will not be able to boast of a good start to the season. Kamil Stoch, Dawid Kubacki and the coach of the Polish team, Thomas Thurnbichler, comment on the disastrous beginnings of the Poles and the tension in the team.
The new ski jumping season has officially started. In the first World Cup competition, which took place in Ruka, four Poles were to fight for the podium – Dawid Kubacki, Kamil Stoch, Piotr Żyła and Aleksander Zniszczoł. None of them managed to stand on the podium. Not everyone managed to take part in both competitions. Kamil Stoch was eliminated from Sunday’s competition already at the qualifying stage. Moreover, Dawid Kubacki is the only Polish jumper who managed to score points in both competitions.
The Poles’ poor start may be worrying, but it should not be a predictor for the rest of the season. After all, the jumpers still have until the end of March. However, what is disturbing is the news from the Polish camp about tensions with the coach and the lack of improvement in the form of Kamil Stoch, who was looking for a solution to his weaker jumps last season. Kamil Stoch and Thomas Thurnbichler commented on the opening of the season and the situation in the team.
Kamil Stoch and Aleksander Zniszczoł did not qualify for Sunday’s competition. Kamil Stoch sees the problem in his lack of self-confidence.
– I started today’s jumps with optimism. Admittedly, I didn’t fully believe in the idea because I don’t feel confident in it all. I don’t want to say that the training idea is bad, that the system is bad. It’s just that sometimes, when you sit on the beam, you have to believe and have inner confidence that everything works. That what you are about to do will work, unfortunately I am not so sure. There have been too many changes in my position lately. Once at the front, once more at the back, then again at the front. I’m a bit lost in all this, but I hope that a few days in Lillehammer will help me get back into a good system. And above all, gain confidence on the beam – Stoch admitted in an interview with Eurosport.
Eurosport also talked to Dawid Kubacki, who said how he sees the situation from his perspective.
– Today was a gentle step forward again. Luck may have varied, but we have no influence on that. The important thing is that these jumps were getting better day by day. These may not be the milestones we would like to take. Or maybe the coaches would like us to do so, but here we need some patience. This must be done successively so as not to lose this base and not return to the worse one again. I think it worked in my case. In my opinion, this is not the way to go. You need to focus on the basics, on what is easy to do. Don’t break these jumps into millions of pieces, because it doesn’t help. And when I talked to him, it was more in this direction. “Let’s not mix it up, let’s not break it down into a million parts, because if I break my concentration into seven different things, none of them will work, okay?” This is my assumption and I stick to it, they argue with me a bit and they don’t really let me go down this path, but we will probably talk again today – said Kubacki.
How does Thomas Thurnbichler rate his players’ jumps?
– I really believe in my team. I want to work with this squad in Lillehammer, where there will be two training sessions and we will work there to improve. Here we managed to improve Piotrek to be much more active, especially when it comes to his jump in qualifying, which was very good. In the first series he made a good jump, but in the second series he lost some energy, but overall it was a step forward for Piotrek. David is about the same point. Something is missing to enable him to start moving with his feet, this last element is missing. We need to train to activate our legs. We’ll have two sessions next week in Lillhammer and we’ll work on it there. I expected the guys to take risks and be more active. If you’re trying to be active, you can sometimes overdo it, and that’s what happened to Kamil. He had a more active position, and then he started moving like when you’re standing on the ice and you start leaning too far forward, you can’t “push”. The same thing happened to Olek. – coach Thurnbichler assessed the jumpers’ starts.