This has taken me a number of days to get to. The National camp for the Mens sweep program was held in Canberra from 4th to 9th Jan. Obviously in the last post I shared some of the experience of going to the National cycling time trial two days later. What happened at camp though?
Well it was a happy camp and I say this in a good way. Upon arriving I was keen to see e other athletes and to see how people felt about some of us returning to the fold. This question of returning for me was interesting because in the past it was often not positive as an experience for the returning athletes or those already in the system. What was positive though was that by the end of the camp I felt comfortable working with many of the athletes and enjoyed sharing the insights and questions that have come from 15 plus years of elite competition.
This is a great thing for a few reason. It will help me to enjoy the experience over the next two years. The learning and sharing that can take place will benefit all of us. It can be a two way street with the flow of energy boosting all we do. I personally prefer feeling connected to people and that competition can be a positive stimulus rather than what has been the experience in the past with our team being fractured and some what destructive. This may some dramatic but I recall years gone by when so much attention was not on performance rather on what other were doing or being allowed to do.
This is refreshing and I enjoyed much of the camp for this reason. What else was great was to have a skills focus with more time on water given to developing a combination and finding how to maximize boat speed. Some simple measure taken at rate 18-20 strokes per minute, rate steps from 18-24 and 20-26, and finally some running 15 stroke efforts around race pace. Simple measure when combine with working on how to best move the boat and bringing each combination together meant it felt very productive. This was all done with two rowing session before lunch and the afternoon where free for cross training and wts.
Our camp this time was done in fours which was cool because I felt it gave an opportunity to get a better feel for who we were in the boat with. In the past our camps have been eights rowing with a mix of pair or four. Often I came away not feeling like I had improved or that I had a very good idea or sense as to what others were doing well.
The camp was a positive improvement on the past. This is important as I believe the group of guys I will be involved with from the Mens heavy sweep group can get some great results if we all work together.
On a personal note out of the camp I have a pair partner to work with and a four which will race in the coming months. Its good to have a sense of this with out getting to far down the track. Josh Dunkley-Smith and I will row the pair going forward which I am excited about as he is a young talent who is showing real interest in learning and improving. As for the four we will race it includes, Sam Conrad who I have race with in fours heaps over the year since 2006 and Duncan plus Josh. We trained this four for the last two days of the camp and I enjoyed getting a feel for what might be possible.
For now it is about continuing my prep and testing my back. It’s about finding the time to get in the pair and four. It’s about working with the whole squad to enable the best performances all round. Simply put if we set our standards high enough all else will flow. This relates to concentration, improvement, speeds, adaptability and harmony. My expectation are super high and as my confidence with my back continues to build I will become very specific about how we maximise the opportunities ahead of us.