Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's in a race plan?

This is something I have been thinking about for some time. The funny thing is I think we have used pretty much the same race plan since 1996. In fact it has not been changed, but I think our understanding and application has been refined. What I have come to realise is that we only really use a race plan as a framework, it is like our template to bring use together in the way we will approach the racing we do. What we don't do is put our confidence in our race plan to be the defining element of our rowing. I have always felt that getting a good start was important because it sets up the race. This does not mean that it is the only thing but it is easier to control things from in front. When it's close after 500m the thing that is wonderful about that is that it creates an intensity about the middle stages of the race. Competitive instinct can bring our the best and worst in everyone. So then a race plan is the thread that runs through our performance. It's a framework the enables a crew to understand what's required and where. We use a plan that we believe gets us in to a position that we can use as a platform. The idea of it being a thread which you have key moments to hang, place, perform based on your decisions the rowing that will bring it all to life. Every stage can result in an expanded thread which stands out in the field and like wise each of the key moment can result in a contraction that is a narrowing of options and is visible as a performance begins to fade and become lost back in the field. We have in our minds key point of a race where certain things can take place, certain opportunities realised. The race plan should keep your options open which is exciting and creates anticipation and is a great source of energy. On the other hand a poorly conceived, ill considered and unrealistic plan can have an effect in opposition to every athletes desires. I share all this because it has been on my mind and with the new season underway here in Australia I am finding the anticipation for what is ahead is very cool, but will require much reflection, thinking and action to ensure even though our plan on the surface may not change, deep down it will involve a unique sense of freshness that I know will make a big difference.

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