03. 02. 2022

Timber Construction European Championship 2022: looking over the shoulders of Europe's best

Four days, 22 hours and a European Championship title: the 14th Timber Construction European Championship is to be held at the same time as DACH+HOLZ International 2022 from 5 to 8 July in Hall 7 of the Cologne Exhibition Centre. The European Championship is a highlight in the calendar for the national teams – after months without such a competition.

2022 is definitely the year of the timber construction industry. Along with DACH+HOLZ International, the Timber Construction European Championship is one of the major events of the year. What is even better this year is the fact that the two events will be held simultaneously at the same venue. Trade fair visitors can watch Europe’s young talent live in action and cheer on their favourite team. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a lot of work goes into the competition. How do the international teams prepare for the specialist challenge? Trainers from Germany, France and Switzerland – the winning teams from the last European Championship in 2018 in Luxembourg – explain below.

Psychological training for defending champion Germany
Representing Germany are: Philipp Kaiser, Benedikt Pfister and Marco Schmidt. Andreas Großhardt trains the Holzbau Deutschland (association of German carpenters) team: “Normally we all have two to three months of training, but that was postponed in 2021 due to COVID-19.” There were alternatives: “For instance, we had online training which we all did at home and included meeting up online three times over the course of the day.” We mainly practised tasks carried out at previous European Championships. One challenge is being in the spotlight: “It makes a great difference whether you are working at the training camp in Biberach or at the trade fair with flashing lights and spectators around you,” said Großhardt. “This is why we also cover psychological themes in our training, such as how do you cope with the pressure of the European Championship or if you make a mistake? I recommend wearing headphones and disappearing into your own world.”

France relies on training camps
Representing France are: Colin Laine, Guillaume Fourtier and Charles Navelot.  Adrien Chenu is in reserve if someone drops out. The team has completed several training camps during its three-year preparation period. Trainer Jean Marie Maziere explained: “Just before the European Championship we train at the timber construction trade fair Eurobois in Lyon. Here the candidates complete an early European Championship-style task.” Then we have our final training in Grenoble before heading to Cologne. There the candidates face various challenges: “They have to put together a perfect model, cope with the pressure of the event and master their own emotions in order to work in front of the public and complete that work at great speed.”

Switzerland does lots of practice at home
Switzerland chose its candidates for the European Championship through three preliminary rounds, selecting Elias Gogniat, Matthias Gerber and Nathan Schmid, with Roland Brülisauer in fourth place. Five training camps in Lenzburg in the canton of Aargau have already been completed in preparation for the competition. Gabriel Mottier is the team expert and Michael Hürbin looks after the candidates during the preparation period. What is important to him is that they practise in the spotlight: “For this reason, the Swiss Championships and preliminary rounds are always held in front of an audience, but this time there were fewer spectators.” The candidates also trained independently due to the pandemic: “A lot of practice at home was required. Any questions that came up were then answered during an online meeting.” At the European Championship itself, the trainers are not allowed to offer practical tips, only psychological support.

A close look at specialist timber work
At the European Championship carpenters create complex models of roof structures and demonstrate specialist timber work. The models are then judged by a panel of experts. The difficult challenge to be mastered by the carpenters at the European Championship 2022 is only set by the panel the day before the event is held. The panel is made up of trainers from the European national teams. The candidates have 22 hours for everything from planning through to completion of the model: from Tuesday morning, 5 July, to Thursday evening, 7 July. The highlight of the trade fair is when the European Champion is announced on Friday. The successor to Alexander Bruns, European Champion 2018, will receive a certificate and a brilliant title that will open up plenty of new opportunities.

DACH+HOLZ International 2022 will take place from 5 to 8 July at the Cologne Exhibition Centre. Further information about the Timber Construction European Championship is available at https://www.tce-championship.eu/. Information about DACH+HOLZ International available at www.dach-holz.com.

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  • From left: Journeymen Marco Schmidt from Thalmässing (Bavaria), Benedikt Pfister from Wolfertschwenden (Bavaria) and Philipp Kaiser from Rot an der Rot (Baden-Württemberg) will compete for Germany (© Aline Grünbacher)

  • For Switzerland, Michael Hürbin supervises the candidates in preparation (© privat)

  • Andreas Großhardt coaches the Holzbau Deutschland team (© Rolando Laube)

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