Canadian National Team player, Alexis Bertrand is off to a great start this year. Through 7 matches he is averaging 5.1 goals for his club Cesson-Sevigne in France’s 2nd Division. In his last match against Livry-Villepinte he had 10 goals on 12 shots to go along with 3 assists. In an earlier match this year he had 8 goals against 1st place Angers. Cesson just missed promotion to the first division last year and is currently tied for 1st with a 7-1 record. (Technically, they are in 2nd, but only because they’ve played one fewer game then Angers).
When I spoke with Alexis in April and reviewed his statistics, I got the distinct impression that he was simply a key role player on an over-achieving club team (Cesson was never expected to compete for the title). I recently had an email exchange with Alexis to try and figure out what was behind the statistical improvement. Alexis pointed to a number of factors to include a healthy right shoulder, increased playing time, and the fact that this is this first year he hasn’t had to adapt to a new club and new teammates. He also highlighted that the Canadian National Team camp this past August had been a good opportunity for him to get more playing time on offense and regain his confidence as a scorer. Shortly after the camp Cesson participated in a season prep tourney against several Div 1 teams in which his improved play caught the eye of his coach and hence the additional playing time. Lastly, simply training every day for 3 years with higher level players is starting to pay dividends.
It will be interesting to see if Alexis can keep improving his overall game. If so, he just might want to prolong his European adventure a couple of more years with a move to a higher level.
Quebec site (in French): http://www.handball-elite.com/nouvelle.aspx?262
Interview on Cesson Website (in French) http://www.cesson-handball.com/article.php3?id_article=534
Last April’s podcast: http://teamhandballnews.com/download.php?view.10