Warning: This may make no sense at all………so be patient
“Get the glide right”
Just thought I would write something briefly about a topic that I think applies to rowing and also to life. The subtlety of getting the glide right is so significant that it is one of the main differences between success and failure.
We often put so much energy into the drive phase of the rowing stroke and can forget the importance and true value of letting the boat glide in a way that is optimal. This is very similar to life, it is almost seen as greater value to stay busy and keep driving with out letting things roll or glide at any time.
It’s a fine line between success and failure. In fact I could even argue that they are one in the same. That really the difference between experiences that we judge as successful or as failure comes down to our perception. I may come back to this point later, but for now I want to explain my reasoning behind getting the glide right.
Glide is not laziness. It’s not just forgetting about something. It is staying focused while allowing the effort of effort to work. It’s allowing the efficiency of momentum created to be of benefit. Capitalising on the effort you put in and allowing it to run is a way to maximise the performance. I am sure there is some mathematical formula that could be used to illustrate the balancing act that is involved in effort and relaxation, drive and recovery, input and output. There would be a point at which the return on your effort is reduced relative to the outcome.
For some time I have found that as a race goes on you have a perception of needing to work harder to maintain the same speed. Obvious I know, but maybe some times forgotten. Even just to maintain speed the physical exertion increases with time. In a race it seems that from 1000m you start to focus on driving more to ensure you maintain and hopefully increase speed. The effort curve is exponential and eventually the athlete can sustain the effort required.
The glide is not just the moment between the strokes. It’s not the lull in the surf when you’re out catching waves and it’s not the period between projects, events, meeting, and sessions. I throw all this in because I want to make sure I keep it in context that although I refer to rowing here, I am also putting it into perspective in a great sense. The glide is not just the moment between; it is the way we relate to that moment. Our attitude to the moment is key to the rewards that can be found at the end of the glide rainbow. We all know the various stories that speak of finding that magic something at the end of a rainbow. It’s a bit like the lotto. It gives people hope. The very idea of something special waiting to be found is intriguing. It is the attitude we have to the moment were we get to make a choice.
Let me put it this way then, the glide in rowing is like our holy grail. It holds the secret to ever lasting speed. I hope it’s not offensive to compare the two, but it is interesting to consider that the glide in essences is a feeling of ease, a feeling of possibility, a feeling realisation. The realisation towards a greater level of performance is that feeling of flow that links every stroke together. The glide is the space between the effort and as each stroke links together it appears like a thread, a stitch down the fabric of water we call a rowing coarse.
Understand I may have been stretching here, but that is what the glide is all about. How do you stretch out the work you’ve down? How do you make the most of all the great work done? The glide is the answer to the limiting feeling we get when we don’t have traction. When the effort and energy we put into to something is not producing an effective outcome. Glide enables output to be maximised rather than being limited by an inability to trust in the full benefits of a cycle.
Rowing involves an in and out cycle that swings and sways. It also goes up and down, sometimes even side to side. It’s cyclic and so with every revolution we have an opportunity to make the next one better. With ever turn of the wheel we need to keep putting effort in which is natural, the flip side to this is in the moments of glide, recovery, reflection, pose, readiness, preparing and spaciousness. It’s a time when you can decide what’s next and how you’re going to make the next cycle better. You get the chance to decide what you need and want?
So you see the glide is critical for achieving your best. Call it what you want. You decide what to call it; you decide what’s next. To me the glide is an opportunity to find that perfection, to create the links between the drive, the work and the effort. The glide is the link between each stroke, every session, all the races; each and every one counts and needs to be accounted for. It is through the glide that they become more than the parts. The sum is in total an accumulation of much more than just effort; it is more because we allow our effort to be rewarded by allowing it to happen. Trust the glide and make more of rowing that just effort and grunt.
As I mentioned initial this is not just about rowing. I am sure I don’t need to explain the connections to the many other things that this could apply to. The thing is I have notice many people around me and how busy we all are. Family, friends, colleagues, other athletes, team mates and coaches are all very busy putting in great effort. Just maybe by taking some time to allow all the effort to be realised, to be effective, to be given a chance, just maybe…things could be different, better, improved and the reward for all the effort and work could be realised.
This could all be a jumbled mess of thoughts and ideas. The idea of get the glide right is hopefully obvious and I am sure that the essence of what I have attempted to articulate has come through. The reason why I feel it is so important is because so often we all work hard. Training can be an experience of accumulated fatigue plus more drive and more effort, and this is fine to a degree.
The rewards I have experiences from getting the ratio optimal have been amazing. Rowing like life does not have to be all about hard work. Now I know some are not even interested in doing hard work or putting any effort in. That’s maybe why there has been a strong message in the world about you’ve got to work hard to get any where. There comes a point though when you have to become smart about it. You have to become adaptable. You have to use leverage. You have to get the relationship between effort and ease; drive and glide to a level were the balance is harmonious. Get the glide right and be rewarded for all the work that you.