Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Training, Olympic Trialling – Australian Squad Too Aggressive?

One of the most famous names in Australian rowing, Drew Ginn, has just completed the first stage of trialling for the London Olympic Games, and, despite doing quite well, he's questioning the system. The trials took place over the course of four days, and saw the rowers racing twice each day–the first day included both a 5k time trial and a 2000 meter race. Given the distance yet to go before London, Ginn expressed concern in a recent interview with Stuff.co.nz regarding the preparation of the athletes on the squad at this point in the training cycle. According to Ginn, this has been the most difficult series of trials since those leading up to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (when Ginn was training as a member of the 'Oarsome Foursome'). Even then, they were racing once per day, rather than twice.

It's one thing when someone new to the squad is having trouble making the adjustment to the senior level. It's an entirely different situation when a proven, perennial contender (and three-time Olympic gold medalist), still at the top of his game at 37 years of age (in his 17th year preparing for the senior level), asks questions like this. Despite the challenges, Ginn and pair partner Josh Dunkley-Smith performed very well across the four day race series, winning the 5k time trial and the 2k race to get things started right.

This gets at one of the themes we have returned to several times here on RR–that being that it is not possible to be at your physical peak year-round (so it's important not to train like it), and the necessity of building a training arc that develops physical peak at the right moment (this goes back to the idea of 'Periodization,' which has been in use for some time across a number of endurance sports). Ultimately, as Ginn knows, no one cares who is fast in December. The important thing is to be fast in July, 2012. What Ginn appears to be reacting to is what he sees as a departure from that ultimate goal, focusing too heavily on the here and now, rather than building the arc for the year–the most important year of the cycle. The Australian team is coming off it's most successful world championship regatta to date–no doubt Ginn would like to see that as a stepping stone to something even better, rather than a high water mark.

-RR

No comments :

Post a Comment