We recently got a chance to catch up with our sponsored Canadian Mixed Doubles curling team Marc Kennedy and Kaitlyn Lawes to ask them about their new team, what it's like playing a new sport (kind of), and the best advice they ever received.
Q: You've both experienced winning at the highest levels of the sport. Describe what it's like competing as a pair versus part of a team and how you adjust your mindset before an event
Kaitlyn Lawes: We are competitors, so even though there may just be the two of us on the ice, that does not change my mindset. I know that no matter the discipline we want to put our best performance on the ice every time we compete. I want to be the best teammate I can be, whether that is for 3 others or just 1 other
Marc Kennedy: I don't think the mindset changes very much. My focus is still on executing as many shots as possible and being the best teammate I can be. We are still getting to know each other on the ice, but we are quickly gelling as a team.
Q: Pairs has been said to be more physically demanding. What's your fitness regimen before a mixed doubles event, and do you ramp it up/down compared to Team?
KL: We have quite the heavy schedules with our regular teams, so I personally do not think my training regimen changes a whole lot between the two disciplines. My on ice practices may be the only place I change up before a Mixed Doubles event. I tend to sweep more in those practices since I know I'll be sweeping a lot!
As for the gym, In season I am constantly trying to make gains but mostly maintain the strength and conditioning that I have created with my trainer pre-season to avoid injury. Leading up to a competition I will be training in the gym for roughly 2 hours and on the ice for 1.5 hours, every day.
MK: Mixed doubles can be very physically demanding. Both Kaitlyn and I work very hard in the offseason as well as during the season to ensure that we can handle all the physical demands that come with Mixed Doubles as well as our regular team curling. My focus is on overall conditioning and strength training. Summer is where most of the improvements and gains occur, and training during the season is primarily for maintenance.
Q: Some athletes are known to be superstitious. Do you have any routines or habits you follow before hitting the ice?
KL: I try to avoid having superstitions as that can create stress. My routine would be just to make sure I have a good dynamic warm-up before I step out on the ice! Sorry, boring I know!
MK: Superstitions can be a bit dangerous. But I do have a habit of not changing my socks if we are on a winning streak.
Q: What is the best curling advice you've been given in your career?
KL: Enjoy the process! There will be many obstacles and challenges along the way, but that is what makes it all worthwhile! And as cheesy as it sounds... Have fun! We are choosing to compete, so we might as well have fun while we are doing it. Sometimes that is a good reminder for me and helps me to not sweat the small stuff!
MK: Practice harder than anyone else, the rest will take care of itself!
Bin There Dump That is the Official Sponsor of Team Lawes/Kennedy
Mississauga, ON –North America's largest franchised waste removal company is the official sponsor of Canadian mixed-doubles team Marc Kennedy and Kaitlyn Lawes.
Bin There Dump That is no stranger to curling sponsorship, as they have previously backed Glenn Howard, and are currently an official sponsor of the Grand Slam of Curling, making its way across Canada.
Mike Kernaghan, President of Bin There Dump That, is an enthusiastic curling fan who jumped at the opportunity to support the team of Lawes and Kennedy. "It really started as a conversation about the new mixed-doubles format and evolved into a great partnership. We're excited to be a part of their journey as a team and helping them succeed and focus on their goals", says Kernaghan.
The duo of Kaitlyn Lawes and Marc Kennedy are very excited to get the mixed doubles season underway and are looking forward to what the future holds for the sport of curling.
"We're seeing the evolution of the sport of curling right in front of us. Canada is playing catch up to some of the other countries who are really quite good at mixed doubles and we're just trying to learn as much as possible," says Marc Kennedy.
"It's really big in Europe, and they have a full-time tour where there are bonspiels every weekend they can go play in. Some smaller countries, such as Hungary who have won some World Championships, don't necessarily have the largest pool of curlers to choose from, but they have a select few that focus on mixed doubles so they've become really good, really fast," added Lawes – who also owns an Olympic gold medal along with Kennedy.