Mums the Word

New Boat: Barwon River


There are movements a foot to ensure our voices are dulled and that any potency in our actions is removed. Say not a word for it can be deemed to be inappropriate, oh if I only could keep from spouting off. Seems the name of the game is supposed to be about keeping your mouth shut and make no enemies. Were it not for change the World would be a boring place. Make no mistake I am stubborn, but willing to learn also which is in itself a strange dynamic. I guess this all could come across as sounding mysterious or deep throat like.

The simple explanation here is and could be, just a little passing wind. Why is it that with sport or any high performance that it seems to require people to believe that there is some magic or mystery? That some how the impossible is being reached by people who poses a special gift or power. What’s the secret to performance?

Boy I don’t know, it’s a good question though and one that is speculated about. We are on a journey and one that involves much searching which I figure creates some mystery and magic. Whats around the next corner is a curious thought that lead us on our way.

Now all this could be relating to many things, but for now I’ll keep on sharing thoughts, intentions and insights from the world of rowing as an athlete. So where are we at as a Team? Our little pair, well we have a new boat, a refreshed sense of purpose and a growing capacity to go beyond the limits that we assume and that others impose. All sounds pretty bold and dame confident I suppose. So let me share that there is a flip side, a down side and that is there has been much frustration and tension at times but currently it is producing shifts, changes and results. It is much easier to talk about the good things than it is to talk about the tough stuff.

What I can say is this, we are on track I am more sure of it now and yet I think I have indicated it many times over the last two years. A number of things have occurred recently that remind me how important it is to have great people in your team. We need to trust each other and have to trust in the ideas and effort of others who we engage.

Don’t tell any one but I love a fight, an argument and certainly enjoy looking a challenge squarely in the eyes and saying here I am. The little secret is that not everyone is really up for putting himself or herself on the line. Changing or improving is not often easy and as such I find many talk about it but fewer live the principles. Working with great people has meant that we feel challenged and we have challenged. It is a big part of the process. In this case the team at Sykes have put themselves on the line and we are grateful for them and the effort. This is what makes great performance a true team effort to aim for and create a performance that achieves a new standard.

This week we have experienced a wonderful thing with the Team at Sykes racing. They have done an extraordinary job to get a new boat designed and built in what must be record time. That I can say with out worry and the amazing thing when we walked into the work area at the factory was the final stages of preparation which meant that finally a few of the team building the boat could go home for some sleep. An extraordinary effort and with the designer nervous about the first row we head down to the Barwon river to give it a spin. What I can’t say yet is what the benefits of the new design are and the potential gains in speed, but it’s no secret that we have wanted to be at the forefront with design. We had an expected need for improvement after the worlds, which the National Team physiologist, Tony Rice felt, was around 1%. So as cheeky athletes we thought if we could get a 1% gain from many elements then quiet possibly it could add up to 4%. Wow we thought and after Chris our coach discussed the prospects of the gains and we all decided to ask the experts to find 1% each effectively from their respective areas.

Physiology, Equipment, Skills, Psychology and Race Strategy.

Mums the word but I am excited about what Sykes have created for us and we are looking forward to seeing if it is faster than the previous boat. Advances in sport happen all the time and to us it is enjoyable to be working with great people to find those small improvements. It is probably unrealistic to expect or even think the percentages above are possible in the 12 months since the World Championships, but I am the optimist. Even if from each area we find a way to improve .1% that would be huge. It does put everyone on stretch though and we feel it keeps us challenged also because ultimately the responsibility rest with Duncan and I to put it all in to practice. We have to deliver and with that comes a certain joy because when we are in the thick of it and in the middle of the storm it is the influences on us during our build up that can can have a positive impact. A sense of knowing we have left no stone unturned is important. We effectively are working every day to have no unknowns or unanswered question and that is a practice that once we are arrive at that moment in Beijing were the tough questions are asked, we will have our response or responses. This is the connection between the action that is needed and the actions that need to be ongoing every day with the assistance of our TEAM.

So a big thanks to those TEAM members at Sykes for delivering on there part in the process. We deeply appreciate what they have built and look forward to allowing it to do what it was designed for.

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