Having joined the game in 2003 after searching for a different sport other than football or ice hockey, 23-year-old Guillaume Cuche has been playing tchoukball for La Chaux-de-Fonds ever since. The high level of the game and incredible opportunities enticed him and, 15 years later, the left-handed left shooter has notched up 41 appearances for the Swiss National team in both junior and senior squads all the way from Kaoshiung in Taiwan to Castellenza in Italy.
Like any tchoukball player, Cuche is dedicated to his club, La Chaux-de-Fonds. Last season his team completed the double, winning the European Silver Cup, as well as the Swiss Championship for the first time. During the regular season, the Beehives also did the unthinkable, beating Meyrin Panthers 71:90 away from home, which eventually led to breaking their 8-year title winning streak – a true highlight for Cuche. His teammate and ‘tchoukbae’ Gaël Sieber provides the perfect competition for Cuche. Also a left-handed left shooter, and with the advantage of age and experience, Sieber has the edge over Cuche for the time being. This friendly rivalry drives both players to play to the best of their ability and push each other to the limits, but still remain great friends off the court. This is one of Cuche’s favourite aspects of the game: the intense competitive and committed spirit every player has, yet the fair play and friendly atmosphere that still radiates on and off the pitch.
Cuche is not one to shy away from a competitive and pressured atmosphere. As a nursing student, he is often subjected to technical dilemmas, emotional human relationships and daily stress, all of which he can relate to tchoukball and work harder to give a greater performance on the court. The tension of matches really fires the 23-year-old up, encouraging him to give everything without overthinking. Reaching the end of a match, irrespective of the score line, knowing that you could not have played any better or given any more is one of the greatest feelings for Cuche. The solidarity among the team is his greatest motivation.
Without a doubt, tchoukball is continuing to grow in size and popularity across the globe, as well as technical difficulty. The power and angles shooters are producing has evolved massively in the last few years, forcing the wings to better their defence. Defenders must be more mobile and agile, prepared for every feint by the attacking team. For Cuche, one of the most important things for the growth of the game is its social network and media presence. Filming and broadcasting the sport on a common platform would be excellent promotion, encouraging more clubs and players to take up the sport.
Going in to EWC 2019, Cuche’s main aim is to enjoy himself, which is the advice he would give everyone – whether they be existing players at an EWC or new, upcoming players. He is also hoping that he will be able to see the quality of some of Europe’s best players at the tournament and learn from them to further improve himself.