Learning & Developing: Searching for solutions

The last two weeks have been enjoyable. The reason relates in part to testing, measurement and the conversations around learning and development.

Last week I did a bike test at the Victorian Institute of Sport. This week I have come up to Canberra to the Australian Institute of Sport to do strength, muscle and neural test to get an idea of where my physical capacity is at particularly with my back.

The wrap up is this:

30% less strength in certain area’s of my right leg and hip. This is great to have a confirmation of the feelings I have had. It also means that those involved in rowing at this level in Australia, coaches, physio, physiologists etc have a better picture of where I am at at this stage. I have been keen since surgery to at least get back to normal function since the injury. The difference between left and right is significant, but can be reduced. I have learned even in 2 months to compensate. The key now is to keep the improvements and then some time in 6months I will be able to make a better decision about future plans with training and or competing.

The bike test all though I have not got the final data, it provided a benchmark and one which I have been compelled to ask questions about. The meaning of the scores(watts, time, cadence, heart rate) and the relationship to body weight, technique, position, and strategy. It also was interesting to find out about the standards of the best. Those of Armstrong and Evans who are or have been at the top of the game in cycling. The gap is huge between my current state and theirs, but that is the best part. Realising the gap and then working to close it. Not because of any cycling aspiration, but because I love a challenge and believe that is is this keen of learning and development that stimulates and reinforces why I have always loved to strive to be better.

If I ever row again or not I care little, but I love challenges and know that this is a way forward from a state of being unable to move and consider even the prospect of bending over to tie up my shoes. Hence the reason why I wore croc’s for most of the last 6 months. Just easier to change shoes sometimes to suit a situation. This is effectively the case with training as well. Finding new ways to get improve, overcome, deal with any and all limitations, weaknesses and problems of a physical, mental or emotional aspect.

On another note relating to this is I believe that this type of individual comprehensive view of an athlete can quantify and confirm many of the subjective elements that are speculated about. Making decisions on direction and approach can be backed up and justified. That’s not to say it will always produce a better outcome but I feel it stand a good chance of out doing the less clear and grey area choices that are debatable.

This may not make a lot of sense but what I am saying is to aspire to clearer and fuller comprehension of an athlete or any person in a learning and development process is critical. It’s critical not only for them with the direct benefit of experience and possible outcomes, but it is also critical for those working with these people. It enhances the relationships, energising like oxygen to the blood stream, and cleansing the connections between those involved.

To be engaged in and exposed to the best thinking and approaches really is a reward. From my view the measurements and tests of the last week have given indication to a state and moment of actuality. The discussion around the meaning of measurement have been like breathing pure clean air. It is invigorating and rejuvenating.

3 thoughts on “Learning & Developing: Searching for solutions

  1. Drew – great insights into the world of the elite athlete – thank you for sharing. Would you be willing to share some of the details on your surgery and recovery? e.g., type of surgery -Microdiscectomy or lumbar fusion? For a rower like myself who has had 2 surgeries (microdiscectomies) for disc herniation and is still struggling with it (possibly heading for a fusion), but nonetheless still wants to get back to rowing it would be very helpful and interesting to know what your experience and that of others (please post your experience in a comment) in similar situations has been. Has anybody else out there had microdiscectomy(ies) or lumbar fusion and been able to get back to rowing at a fairly decent level?

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