From helping the Red Lions win the World Cup in 2018 to the gold in Tokyo Olympics, Calderon has assisted Shane McLeod in conquering the world. Now working with Belgium’s new coach Michel van den Heuvel, she is plotting more glory for the team at the World Cup here where Belgium are already in the quarterfinals.
From recording all the matches that Belgium and their opponents play to sending live suggestions, she does it all. “During the game, I can send images to an iPad on the bench so the coach can have a behind-thegoal view of the positions. He can then m a k e changes if needed or confirm what we have planned,” Calderon wrote to TOI.
However, her biggest involvement comes as the team prepares to defend the penalty corners.
“By watching all the previous choices from the opponents, we try and predict what the next call will be. I work very closely with Vincent Vanasch (Belgium goalkeeper) in giving him all the information he needs to prepare well. The evening before a big game we want to feel ready for every situation,” she said.
While PC conversion rates have indeed dwindled, Belgium’s recent record in defending PCs has been stupendous.
In the three matches at the World Cup so far, they have conceded eight PCs but haven’t given away any goals from them. In the four Pro League games before that, they conceded 5 PCs and let in 2 goals, and at the Olympics, they let in just two goals from 18 PCs. While PCs remain the key, she also helps with all ‘set plays, general outletting, and pressing patterns.’ But whatever she does, she needs to be quick since the teams usually play matches one day apart during a tournament and that’s where her work becomes a real challenge.
“I mainly try to make the work of the coaches more efficient. As we often play within 48 hours, time is very valuable. I do this by having everything coded in the exact same way so they always know where to find what. And I create databases per year for penalty corners, goals, shoot-outs, and individual skills,” the analyst said.
Other than the national team, Calderon also works with the Belgium club Waterloo Ducks and has helped them win the European Hockey League in 2019 as complete underdogs. Despite all her hard work, she is well aware that it all comes to the players in the end and she just couldn’t appreciate them enough.
“The best thing in hockey is that players do a lot of the work. Players will watch their own games, and opponents, and prep for penalty corners and shootouts on their own.,” she added