Monday, August 01, 2011

Luzern retrospective

About three weeks ago we raced in Lucern. At the same time we found out where we were positioned. We found our spot on the map of the fours event you could say. On that weekend we came to a cross road. Like the boys here we took our first real steps in this new combination. You could say we hit an obstacle or a few bumps in the road.





We raced and searched for little things that would assist us in getting the best outcome out of the World Cup. We missed the final but it has fueled us well. We didn't row well and that has made us want to be better. We were outclassed and this has inspired us.

What must be acknowledged is how good the GB four is right now. They are performing in a class of their own. The other fours like Greece and US are very good and it's seems to be a tight field between 2 to the rest. We are in the bunch. Back to GB, the way they are moving and rowing is great. Flowing, composed, confident, and fast. I like it as it's no none sense and they are taking charge of their performance.

As for us we are learning. I like this also as we have many gains to be made and with a willingness to learn and clear understanding of what's need we will be competitive going forward.

Since Lucern we have complicated things and then simplified. Actually the process has been like finding the tension in a sail. To tight or to loose and you loose power and speed. Our focus was initially on length of stroke and effectiveness of connection. Then sequencing become the challenge with the forward and back movements a focal point to create easier timing. Physical work load was thrown in and with it came fatigue. Concentration and skills was identified and then came sessions where things dropped off and it became clear attention and control needed dare I say it, more attention. Bit like meta-attention, concentrating on concentrating if that works or even makes sense. So it has been full on and still we have further to go.

Lucern though was a wake up call. Not surprising it was bound to happen given the many changes and lack of consistency in training leading up. No excuses though as we did all we could at the time to best the best we could. Lucern is a beautiful place but racing can be brutal if unprepared or unrealistic goals are set. It has provided a benchmark and now we are working to bridge the gaps.

What Lucern showed was that being in a new team is exciting but also enabling this new team to fire has it's challenges. I think there was a view that just by putting me into this crew with three from last year that it would just work. Lucern showed things keep improving and moving forward. Sure some years regress but the general trend is improvement.

This year we saw a few amazing performances with real class and speed in pretty neutral conditions. We have faced facts about our performance and look towards some of the better performances to use as learning and comparison. I think for many the Kiwi Pair is a stand out amongst all events. The way the are approaching their rowing I feel is more like people enthused by mastering their craft. What's involved is individual, collective, equipment and the requirements to be fast. Fast has no limit and with harmony of all elements coming to the surface and the years of consistent and accumulative preparation they are now shining brighter than any I believe. To add to this I think the GB four has found a pretty special mix also. The seating, the athletes and coach look like they are onto a winner with harmony and consistency. It is rare that four or bigger boat can get such margins and I would like to think that the fours field can use this to really more the event forward. Now I have focused on only two crews but probably this says something about my bias more than what else happened in Lucern. To wrap up what i saw, the German eight is very well positioned to continue it's run. GB has a number of women's crews who certain look to be holding great form. The light weight four has to be the tightest event and so bloody exciting to watch. Poor little men seem to all be going flat out with any mistakes producing disaster towards then end. It seems the ultimate test of efficiency. The power is so similar, size too, but the difference between first and last is a true test of rowing skill. Great learning here for all heavy weights. Careful though would want all the little rowers out there getting to sure of themselves. Our little fellas are full of chatter and banter. Having them think we heavies admire what they do would make life unbearable.

Only final thing about Lucern is I loved being back there. My family came over and they loved it. It really is an amazing place to compete. Years gone by we did spend many weeks in Lucern and Switzerland to train and compete. I guess I miss that as a place it's beautiful and I have so many great memories.

Lucern has now become a great step in our journey and three weeks now feels so long ago. We have moved on and even though I have looked back to learn I am very much looking forward to the next few week and the into Bled for Worlds.

1 comment:

Rob Walker said...

As a college rower with relatively little experience, it's refreshing and comforting to hear your concerns on improvement and boat harmony. Good to know that every crew comes up against this. Though I'm not sure I appreciate the lightweight slander!
Best of luck.

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