Perfect performance – the processes that powers the champions.
Everybody who’s ever rowed crew or taken part in any team sport knows that the responsibility for improving his/her own skillset is to ensure that as a team the pace set by them and the race is theirs to own. Attention to detail, practice and constant feedback helps develop these skills to the highest level.
Here are the Dark Horse top 5 points to help develop that perfect performance both on the water and on the erg.
Athletes and coaches take equal responsibility for improving the details.
Yes we know, when you row crew the needs of the team supersede the needs of the individual. This however means nothing if the athlete doesn’t know what they’re doing wrong in the first place. Video analysis is crucial if you want to get better when it comes to rowing.
When I’m reviewing an athlete’s performance, I use this video as a reference point for their goals for the coming training phase. These can then be worked on in the windows of training, I can watch over them to check that they are carrying through the technique, and improvements can be made. For example; sometimes an athlete will drop their head down on the recovery, which means they protract the shoulders and over extend the thoracic spine. They need to keep their chin up simple, however you can’t see this when you’re in the boat or on the erg so video here is crucial.
Each core skill has a number of goals that lead to accurate execution.
The catch position is a perfect example of what seems natural when you see it done by any Olympic level athlete. I’m constantly practicing with our athletes the ability to sit and hold this position and the reason for this is that its an expected part of the stroke. However if as an athlete your practice of the stroke isn’t a point of mastery then each and every stroke you take is going to take you further away from yours and your team goals. So work on those ankle, shin, hip, shoulder and hand positions, your catch is going to improve and the team will have an athlete that is able to hit these positions and maximize the force producing in the boat / on the erg. Be a technique ninja!!
Post session reviews for athletes might include rest, rehab or even eating a decent meal.
Personally I’ve always had a clear processes post workout that includes constant communication and discussion with my coach and honest feedback both on the session and things going on outside the training room. In reality the more detail you can provide a coach the more they can do to help improve your technical, tactical and individual preparation for any upcoming performance. I can honestly say that the times I’ve ignored this have been the times my performance has been compromised. Listen to their advice and eat that steak if it calls for it.
Testing isn’t a bad thing. It’s a flag in the sand that lets people know where you’re at, at that point in time.
First things first, this doesn’t just mean “What’s your 2km time?” The more I’ve coached the more I’ve created scenarios to test the variety of athletes I work with. Reducing the rest time and working on uneven stroke rates has always been my way of seeing if athletes will buckle under the pressure or step up and deliver. In reality the more we challenge ourselves with some of the more subtle nuances of rowing the more well rounded we become as athletes and the better our overall performance will become.
What we look to avoid is the realization you are out of your depth the moment competition season starts. Work on your weaknesses and test them until they are no longer weaknesses, the team is relying on you!.
It’s an all-year-round commitment.
How many times have you had a vacation and then come back to training feeling like you’ve stopped for years not weeks? In the sporting world we call this reversibility, and the general rule of thumb is for every week you have off you go back two weeks in your training. Take a month off and you’re going back two to three months in your progress. Are we saying don’t have a vacation? Of course not!! Just be mindful that time off means progress stops, and if you’re only competing once a year then you have to plan your training in accordance.
In summary, the desire to improve the details and over all performance comes from constant communication between the coach and the athlete. Work as a team and the team will reap the rewards.
Yours in fitness, education and perfection as a team.