It has come to that period of the preparation and with two weeks before heading overseas I have found myself becoming quiet critical of my performance personally and it is beginning to filter into some of the training in the boat. So last week when we swapped seats in the pair it was a perfect reminder to suspend judgement.
What I mean is that things are gong ok and moving in the right direction. During our training in Melbourne which was before the last trip to Queensland, I was starting to become edgy about little changes or things I felt needed to be improved. The various calls I was making from the bow seat had turned from constructive to identifing problems.
Last year I recall a phase when a similar things occurred and when I became aware of it I worked on being more constructive with calls and comments. The example of this was how I became a little fixated on the balance and every slight movement of the boat from side to side triggered a reaction were I was calling platform, balance, relax and handle path quiet regularly. Probably to the point were I think Duncan was getting frustrated with the constant reminders. When I realised I was just pointing out the problem I began to consider what might stimulate a change. Calls like catches and bold around the finish began to show benefits. The results was clear and the platform improved dramaticly.
How is this playing out now? Well what I have found to be effective is to suspend judgement and allow the solution to come to the surface. Even while rowing it is amazing how by holding off jumping on various ways we move and to look deeper into it to find a more constructive way to help.
This has also been important for me personally as it is easy to be critical. I think most athletes are self critical and I do find that it is difficult to be happy with how things are going. My own performance has always been one I think I keeping up or following. So I guess when I train alone I imagine how far ahead other might be and work to bride the gap. This is tiring though and certainly through this period it is important that I don’t keep pushing to reach some invisible mark. Don’t get me wrong I am all for challenge and pushing the boundaries, but I also appreciate that constant drive can lead to illness, injury or even frustration at skill levels.
Another perspective with suspending judgement is about member of the team. Longevity is possible when there is trust and openness. We have in the last two weeks spent some great time talking about how we are going individually and collectively.
So in times of stress or when things are building up to the high points of competition I think it is valuable to suspend judgement and to dig into the experiences to find ways to make improvements.