It was race day and even if its just for fun, the excitement level always rises. The morning session consisted of preparation for high pace rowing and the coaches took video at a different pace than the training pace. This way, there was not that much time to think of technique but to row more naturally and hopefully more relaxed.
The third and last video session of the camp was more focused on the fine tuning of rowers techniques giving the rowers the final tips on what to work on when at home. We were very please to see that our instructions where giving results. Catching is one of the most difficult aspects of the rowing stroke and we tried seeing if explaining off land would help.
For the second training pass of the day, we could notice that race nerves were beginning to kick in so we gave everyone the freedom to do what they wanted. Options were rest or have a trip on the water without the coaches watching eyes.
Our tradition is to end each camp with a Head of Aviz race and we agreed to meet at 16.00 for a small briefing on the seeding for the race. Race conditions were perfect with about 2m/sec head wind and no rain.
Rowers we’re not seeded in the order of estimated speed, but on how each could either be best challenged to push away from the following rower or try catch up with previous.
There were some tight races and like always, there is room for debate and discussions after head racing. Congratulations to Mette for winning Head of Aviz 2014 with a 0,1 sec advantage to Henrik. Your work is clearly giving results. Keep up the good work.
We woke up to a totally windless morning and at 7.00 am as we got on the water, the sun was coming out from behind the small clouds. Once again the morning session consisted of getting material of improved strokes for the day’s video session. The rowers enjoyed the flat water and sunshine for about 10k and we could clearly see that everyone was deeply concentrating on improving their techniques. It was a joy to see the results that focus and concentration can bring.
After having been fully focused for three outings, we decided to take the scenic tour of the canyons. While improving technique requires focus, sometimes it is good to let the mind rest and look around a bit. The nature in Aviz is nothing like at home and the canyons was truly magnificent. We have to say that the rowers focus was more on the surrounding nature than on the perfect catches on this outing.
For the last outing of the day, we decided on not to give any new technical tips and lets the rowers digest on what we had told them earlier and just to relax. The newly learnt techniques needs to be transferred into being a custom way of rowing and when letting the guard down and not trying too hard often does the trick. One sees the light and gets and feels what needs to be done. From this outing we also got about 300 pictures of happy rowers, which will be shared among all participants.
Dinner at Herdade da Cortesia hardly ever fails and with great company and good rowing stories the evening was yet again perfect consisting of planning and practicing strategy for the next days wine tasting competition.
We have stated that our primary goal for the camp is for the rowers to go home having felt what the perfect rowing stroke feels like (and in addition have some tips if the baggage on how to achieve this.) For the first outing we wanted some totally flat water for getting used to equipment and to get some film material for our first video session, to see what the starting point is for all rowers. The good thing about Aviz is that favorable conditions are just around the bend, no matter where the wind blows from.
We feel the video sessions are the key for giving the rowers a visual picture of what needs to be corrected. The next challenge is to tell them what they need to do to correct it and at last it is up to the rower to make the changes. Just a small difference in the way of describing what to do can make a huge difference but we feel that video is the best tool to pin point the issue. One aspect we set a lot of focus on is the catch and especially on the relation to the oars catching the water and the seat beginning the drive phase. We actually use software to time this and show it to the rowers. We believe that this timing is one key to an efficient stroke and one we put a lot of emphasis on when teaching technique.
Straight from the video session, we hopped back on the water ready to implement what needed to be corrected. Once again, we emphasized on taking it easy and really thinking on what needs to be done. Implementing technical changes can be a lot more tiring than rowing 16 K’s on the water.
The last session of the day consisted of technical drills. The coaches explained four different drills, which kept the rowers more than challenged for the outing.
The first one was more of an backing exercise pushing the blades to the catch position and then finding a comfortable balance there. The second exercise was called rusties, with an extra straightening the arms between strokes. Third a balance and timing exercise going from back-stops to the catch in good balance. And last but not least a maneuvering exercise which everyone racing needs to master, turning the boat both the clockwise and anticlockwise.
Despite the many threats on how tricky the different drills were, nobody managed to fall in. Our intention was for each rower to dare push their boundaries to the limit and to be encouraged to go beyond their comfort zone.
We are getting ready for Sculling Camp 2014 and have prepared some new kits from out clothing partner Athletes Own
Looking forward to seeing you all for some serious rowing.