The Swedish curling skip on what it takes to succeed in a physically and mentally challenging sport

A bronze medallist at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, Niklas Edin has been winning major curling medals since he claimed the first of his six European titles with Sweden in 2009.

Now, as he gears up for PyeongChang 2018, the Swedish skip and two-time world champion explores the mental and physical attributes that make for a top-level curler…

Intelligence on the ice
“What you need to be successful probably differs from one person to the next, but looking at the most successful curlers I’d say they were all smart, ambitious and generally talented at most sports.”

Mind and body
“I really like the mental and physical aspects of curling. During the season, our training is mainly curling practice on the ice, running, strength training at the gym, and then theoretical and mental training as well. To play well, you have to think about strategy but also be physically fit. You need to communicate with your team-mates and know your opponents. I love the variety of the game.”

The competitive edge
“I hate losing. I can get really grumpy when we lose because I don’t accept mistakes and I always want to improve. But I think it’s the right attitude to have. Over the years, I’ve calmed down quite a bit because I think it’s in the best interests of the sport to show respect to your opponents. These days I try to calm myself down but if we’re losing in a bad way, I still definitely have a temper.”

Collective responsibility
“As in any team sport, having the right team-mates is very important. Maybe even more so in curling as we spend well over 300 days a year together and on tour it’s just the four of us. I want to have competent and ambitious people at my side. If anyone on the team didn’t work as hard, it wouldn’t be a good team for long. Every individual needs to take full responsibility to make things work both on and off the ice. The team can only be as strong as the weakest link.”

Speed of thought
“The mental side of the sport is more important now than ever before. As the sport develops and the players and teams improve, we all have to make better and faster decisions. We have worked with a sports psychologist for as long as I have played at the elite level. Being mentally strong is definitely a key factor to success.”

To discover more about achieving the right state of mind for competition, visit the Athlete Learning Gateway and take the Sports Psychology – Getting In The Zone course