Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Siegfried Mazet is going into his fifth season as the Men’s Shooting Coach in Norway. His successes with Martin Fourcade and the French team and now the man behind Johannes Thingnes Boe and the Norwegian juggernaut make Mazet’s skills the gold standard on the shooting range.

Although he adjusted his plans and working style this summer, little else has changed. The goal for his charges is excellence: be more efficient, hit one more shot; the podium or victory is always possible.

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Adjustments

The adjustments this season started early due to Coronavirus. Mazet was in France. unable to travel when the team first gathered in May. “It was frustrating, hard to start the work like this (via computer link) but you have to look at the big picture, you have to think what was most important: to stay healthy and protect our families. It was not just our team but everywhere… I had to think differently; I asked the guys to make some videos so I could analyze them. It was interesting because I found out some things that I might have missed if I was there. We pushed ourselves to be better with this time.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Challenges, New Routine

Once able to travel, “The biggest challenge for me as a French coach working in Norway happened the first time I made it to Norway in June. France was a “red” country at that time and I had to stay in quarantine before I could start to work. Our doctor worked out just what I could do after that, so after a few days I worked 4-10 meters away socially distanced, but at least I was able to work. Our camp that month was pretty normal, except for the social distancing rules that we got from our doctor, like eating at separate tables. Working with the team was quite challenging. At times you need to be quite close to see what is happening; especially for me with the rifle, watching trigger squeeze and sighting. It was hard to break with the usual way of working. Once we all got the routine it was all okay.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

“We cannot rest”

In a team with the two-time World Cup Total Score winner in Johannes and three other men in the top 10, that combined to take the Men’s Nations Cup, World Cup Relay and Mixed Relay Scores, the biggest challenge is year-to-year improvement. “When I came to Norway, I looked at the data and most of the team was at about 84% in shooting; Martin was at 88%. So, we had to improve to be a potential podium candidate every week. Everyone knew what we had to do. In the past 4 year, we have done quite well. Johannes was at 89% last year. We cannot rest on this; when you reach to top, you have a bigger risk to fall a bit.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve
Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Efficiency and a Blink Bump

Innovation is the mother of invention. Mazet is always thinking about the small things that will make a difference. Of course, there are sometimes bumps in the road.. “We are trying to be a little bit more efficient. My goal was to be faster in prone, but now I am stepping back to a more normal way, because I am not satisfied with our hit rate at Blink. It was like full gas on the tracks, coming to the range with too much speed and struggled with the first shots. We messed up a little there. That is why we stepped back a little bit… I put my watch in my pocket and now are concentrating on the hit rate.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Last Stage: Playing Poker

There is no textbook road to success on the shooting range, but the 42-year-old does have a successful philosophy. “I want them to have different abilities (in shooting); to be fast sometimes and sometimes to be slow. Like in the mass start, it is all about strategy. Prone is not where you win the race, but there you can lose it. Then as I tell them, it is to reach the quarter finals, the semifinals and final (last shooting). In the final, you have to be stable; need to shoot fast if trying to catch the front or if you are in front, then no need to rush. I want them to make the decisions, like playing poker; you get to the last draw and have to make a decision. That is exactly it!”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Learning the Lesson

Mazet’s star pupil Johannes learned has learned the lessons well, becoming more consistent on the range. “That was my goal for him. I knew from watching him that at times he would turn off, shoot fast and miss a very nice opportunity (for a win). I remember in the Kontiolahti sprint 2018, Martin was sick and Johannes had a big chance for the Yellow Bib. He shot like a maniac in standing, missing two, with one he would have had the Bib. It could have changed the story (for the season). That day, we had a long talk, I told him he had to be stable. When you want to be the best in the world, you cannot let these things happen. I said, “you said you want to be one of the best in the world, so behave like the best in the world.’ After that he changed his way of thinking. For me, from that day, he had a goal and knew what was expected.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

One Shot Better

Now as the new season approaches, there are new goals and ways to improve for the top ranked man. “We have been working to be little more efficient and faster in prone. He was quite unsure before the first shot; needed a lot of time to set the position, feel quite well and deliver a good first shot. A lot depends on the conditions, but the goal is to be one shot better than the others.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Relationships

Mazet’s skills and knowledge as a coach cannot be underestimated. He has been successful at every stage of his career, because he has not sat on his laurels, but continued to grow, learn, and adapt. His biggest influence over the years has been the top athletes and coaches he worked with. “I have learned a lot. I would not be the coach I am today if not for all the athletes I worked with for many years. It is the relationships with the athletes that build you as a coach. They learn from you and they learn from you; you go together. I am not the same coach I was in France, because the culture in Norway is different. That makes my experience in France even greater. There has been so much talking and thinking with my teammates, with coaches like Egil (Kristiansen) and before Stephan Bouthiaux Jean Paul Giachino. When you share experiences, you get so much afterwards.”

Siegfried Mazet…Always Trying to Improve

Never-ending Education

“It is like a university education that goes on and on. It is never done…One of the most important things for me is this relationship between coaches and athletes.”

Photos: IBU/Christian Manzoni, Egil Christiansen, Christian Haukeli, Tarjei Boe, Axelar/ Martin Knudsen

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