Mike, Tom, and Peter have kindly allowed me to write a post to all of you in light of the upcoming CSSRA races this weekend, so here it goes 🙂 :
Throughout this past year I’ve had the privilege of seeing the blog updates from Mike and Tom in regards to your hard work, training, and racing results. It’s been incredibly awesome (in the true “awe inspiring” sense of the word) to see how much you’ve all developed athletically and progressed.
I’ve missed coaching you at Westdale, but I know that this year’s team has been doing a great job – both the athletes and the coaches. As you move into your final regatta of the school year, I want to leave you with this:
You’ve worked so hard for this. For many of you, you’ve been training multiple years for this. “Good luck” is something that I could say, but I reckon that “luck” is not as important as executing what you already know and have been trained for. You KNOW what to do. Go do it. Make it yours. And have fun. 😉 Knowing that you’ve left everything you could on the water after rowing to the best of your capabilities as a team is the most important thing. Yes, even more than your final numerical placement on a scoreboard.
I’ll be cheering for you, across a different kind of pond, in a slightly different continent. My heart is at the regatta this weekend.
Miss you all… and sure, I’ll still say it: GOOD LUCK!!! Alessandra
1) Please dress appropriately for the weather and bring an extra change of workout clothes every day. This will help ensure that you are ready for both on-water AND off-water practices (you need those runners & those layers!), and will ensure that you’ve got something to change into if your boat capsizes. This is very important as we want you all to be healthy and safe. Hypothermia (or even generally being cold) isn’t fun – let’s do everything we can to avoid the cold weather risks.
2) Clothing “Swag” Order deadlines have been extended until tomorrow (Tuesday, April 21st) morning’s practice. I will also collect final forms tomorrow afternoon at the PM practice. We’re lucky to have been given the one-day extension, so if you didn’t have a chance to place your order today, then please ensure you’re ready with your order form & payment by tomorrow. If you need to print off an order form, you can find one here: Westdale Rowing Apparel 2015 (Order Forms)
3) Coach Tom has a message for everyone, so please see below for his post 🙂
The other day in my introduction, I shared with you the quote that means the most to me in rowing: “What the mind believes, the body will deliver”. There are a couple of stories that I’d like to share with you.
In 2007 while I was coaching at Christchurch Girls High School in New Zealand, a 14-year old girl showed up to training. I knew Grace because I coached her sister and I had Grace pencilled in as a potential coxswain. At the time, she was under 5 feet tall and weighed 49kg (108 pounds). Grace insisted that she wanted to row, and as was our policy, she was not denied the opportunity to try. At a December erg test, Grace pulled 7:59 on her 2K test. That is not a misprint. Adjusted, that is an erg score of about 6:35. Not bad for a 14-year old!!!! I’ve posted a picture of Grace below at our January 2008 training camp at Lake Rotoiti. It’s one of my favourite pictures. She rowed 14km that day and had the biggest grin I’ve ever seen after it!
Grace went on that season to stroke the U15 4+ of girls not much bigger than she was, to a bronze medal in the biggest event of the program at the NZ Secondary Schools Championships of 64 crews. She then put on a growth spurt and represented her country at the 2011 Junior World Champs, winning a bronze medal. She is currently a junior in the University of Washington Women Huskies Varsity 8+. To this day, that erg test, and what this kid accomplished in that season, is the most amazing thing in rowing that I’ve ever seen.
A close second, and a great example of “What the mind believes, the body will deliver” is again, a Kiwi-themed story. Below is a picture of the gold medal winning double from New Zealand at the 2012 Olympics in London. Joe Sullivan and Nathan Cohen overcame a significant size difference, not to mention a deficit in the final 500 metres, to make a stunning run home to the finish and take the gold medal.
What do these stories tell us? I think they tell us that heart and an absolute will to get the job done, are tools that are as essential as anything else…maybe even the MOST important tools you can have. We never want to limit our potential based on what we THINK is a limitation. The common belief in our sport is that “Tall will Beat Small”, and that does happen too. But no matter who you are: tall, small, novice or experienced, I encourage you to open up your mind to the possibilities of what you can achieve and GO FOR IT LIKE NEVER BEFORE! It’s a great attitude to have in a boat….and one that will allow you and your crew to aim for new heights every time out.
One final thought. I encourage and challenge all of you to do something to make your crew better. Improving YOUR erg scores gives you a faster boat. Improving YOUR flexibility gives you a longer stroke. Making technical improvements to YOUR stroke pattern limits the drag on boat speed. YOU are responsible for YOUR speed on the water.
Kim Newcombe (Max’s mom) & Holly Shanlin (JJ’s mom) will be collecting bottles of wine for the Chili Cookoff at tomorrow morning’s 5:45am-8am practice. If you’re not attending tomorrow morning’s practice, then please contact me (Alessandra) and I can collect your wine bottles over the weekend. We need to obtain the bottles this weekend so that Kim & Holly can wrap & prepare the bottles for the Chili Cookoff.
***ATHLETES –be sure to arrive at 5:45am tomorrow (Saturday) or even a bit earlier, since you’ll need time to set up a coach boat & check your boats on stretchers before pushing off the docks.
RE: Chili Cookoff Ticket Money Submission
Money collection for the Chili Cookoff tickets will begin at the start of Monday morning’s 5:15am practice. Everyone is encouraged to continue selling their tickets, as we are counting on each athlete selling 8 tickets ($20 each, for a total of $160 per ticket package). Inviting family, friends, peers, teachers, etc. is always a good idea if you’re not certain who to approach.
THANK YOU for your efforts in helping to sell the tickets & in bringing in your wine bottles. The Chili Cookoff relies on every athlete, parent, and coach coming together to make the event a success. We can’t do it without you!
The time has come to move our practices down to Leander Boat Club, finally! OUTDOOR SEASON IS UPON US!
Practice will begin at 5:30am sharp at Leander Boat Club, and the following athletes must attend:
-ALL of the men’s team
-ONLY women from the Sr. Women’s 8+, Sr. Women’s 2x, and Jr. Women’s Midweight 8+ (to determine your crew, see Mike’s post on crews).
Your RCA registration must be completed before tomorrow morning’s practice.Outdoor fees are also due by tomorrow morning. If you haven’t registered yet, then please do so on the RCA registration website. For instructions & a link to the website, please see Mike’s post on RCA registration. Rowing fees are $275 for HS rowers (LBC fee + WSS fee); $205 for coxswains (LBC fee only); and $70 for club athletes (WSS fee, LBC fees paid directly to club).
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Men’s Team – Arrive at 5:30am. Come prepared in layered workout clothes (enough to stay warm outside), and bring 7/16ths wrenches. You will be doing final rigging adjustments (the Sr. LWT 4+ must rig the new Hudson 4+ that just arrived), a practice coach-boat setup for new athletes, and a running/stairs workout followed by an important team meeting.
Women’s Team – Arrive at 5:30am. Come prepared in layered workout clothes (enough to stay warm outside), and bring 7/16ths wrenches. You’ll be rigging the rental 8+, then meeting with Mike so that he can explain the crew selection & time trials process (the crews listed are not final until he’s done seat racing/etc., so he will explain how he’s running the selection), and then you’ll have an opportunity to do a running workout.
BOTH TEAMS – If the other schools are on-water, then we will have an opportunity to conduct part of our workout indoors on the tank. We are not going on-water tomorrow because we need to have all boats fully rigged & set before our first outing, which includes our rental boats and some equipment upgrades on the boats we’re currently using.
OH NO, I’M NEW, WHAT DO I WEAR?!?!?!:
Layer up. Any/all of the following would be a solid choice:
-long spandex tights (insulated with fleece lining is even better for warmth, or use long underwear)
-warm smartwool socks, or similar
-long-sleeve, spandex (or close-fitting) exercise top made of dryfit material or something that wicks away sweat so you stay warm
-fleece vest or jacket lining
-waterproof, wind-proof jacket (nothing too heavy – something you could easily run/move around in)
-winter headband (to cover ears/forehead) or a toque/insulating hat
-mitts/gloves (trust me, you want these for tomorrow or your fingers will freeze in the wind & rain!)
We want to avoid hypothermia and all those other lovely cold-weather hazards, so please take note of the weather (13*C, thunderstorms/rain, high winds) and dress accordingly.
See you all at Leander Boat Club tomorrow at 5:30am sharp.
I hope you’ve all had a relaxing long-weekend. Now that the docks are in we are officially able to get on-water this week. Our first on-water day will be Saturday, April 11th. This is based off of cold-water rules arranged with Steffan, as well as the timing of boat rentals arriving (some of which we require to get on-water). This week is also the coaching swap, so the women will be coached by me (Alessandra), and the men will be coached by Mike.
A friendly reminder to all parents & athletes: Outdoor Fees must be paid before getting out on-water. Please ensure that you speak with your athlete’s primary coach if you require an alternate payment plan, or if you have any questions about the outdoor fees. Chili cookoff sign-up sheets will be made availabletomorrow as an online Google document, so keep posted for that, and I will also be posting an overview to the blog of the important info from the Chili cookoff presentation tomorrow at that same time.
Training Plan: Monday, April 6th (TODAY, OYOT): ALL ATHLETES – 50-60min run on your own time (long distance, category 6, cardio workout)
Tuesday, April 7th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap* Men – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; 20min stair run (basement to 4th floor, in stairwell nearest weight room); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Mike Women – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; Juniors = 2km erg testing; Seniors = cardio circuit (TBExplained at practice); stretching & debrief with Alessandra
Wednesday, April 8th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap* Men – 10min warmup run; dynamic stretching; 2x30min erg w 5min rest (Cat 5 – 6km split + 8s); stretching & debrief with Mike Women – 10min warmup run; 20min stair run tag-team game (3rd floor); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Alessandra
Thursday, April 9th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap* Men – 10min suicide & core switches (warmup); Day 1 Weights (original circuit – NOT intensification phase); 20min run (time pending); stretching & debrief with Mike Women – Goal Setting Discussion & Crew Challenge (on the erg) with Alessandra; stretching & debrief
Friday, April 10th: 5:30am***LATER FOR THIS DAY ONLY @Leander Boat Club Men (ALL) – Boat Cleaning & Final Rig Checks; Crew Run & Stairs; Team Meeting with Alessandra Women (AM athletes only) – Rigging of the Rental 8+; Team Meeting with Mike
Saturday, April 11th: 5:45am @LBC Men (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am Women (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am Men (PM ATHLETES ONLY – TODAY ONLY DUE TO FIRST ON-WATER DAY): 10:00-11:30am
A friendly reminder that we have our Outdoor Rowing Parents’ Meeting tonight at 7pm in the WSS Library. This meeting is mandatory for all athlete parents, and athletes are also strongly encouraged to attend if they’ve got questions about training schedules (but it’s not mandatory for the athletes). Please ensure at least one parent per athlete (or per family, for parents with more than one athlete on the team) is present at the meeting.
The meeting will last approximately 30 minutes, with some extra time for questions at the end.
We will cover the following:
Rowing fees & waiver requirements + deadlines
Training schedule (arrival times/departures/mornings vs. afternoons/primary coaches)
Safety requirements (includes cold water rules & coaching ratio restrictions)
Chili cookoff logistics (our big outdoor-season fundraiser)
Again, the meeting will last approximately 30 minutes. If you are unable to attend, then please contact your athlete’s primary coach (Men’s Team = Alessandra; Women’s Team = Mike Roche) as soon as possible.
Now that you’ve had a weekend to get over the adrenaline rush (and potential fangirling) of being free from school for a whole entire week, we thought it’d be super fun to post a wicked awesome list of workouts you should totally do 😉
…but seriously. These workouts will help you maintain your aerobic base & general fitness required for when we come back and complete erg testing (#lolwut). Yes. Erg testing upon return.
To our credit, we’re giving you lots of workout options so that you can manage this training with your schedule/location(s). If you’ve already spoken to me about attending a rowing-specific training camp (e.g.: SCRC/BrockU March-Break Training Camp), then please just keep me posted on your progress & be sure to train smart (no injuries).
Now that we feel all warm & fuzzy inside, here’s the workout plan (including an overview for tomorrow’s supervised practice at LBC):
_______________________ MARCH BREAK TRAINING:
Monday, March 16th – 6am @LBC (Leander Boat Club)
All athletes should arrive at 6am for a 2hr practice at Leander Boat Club (6-8am). We will rotate through ergs, tank, and core, with a strong emphasis on tank-work. This will be your only supervised practice this week, so please attend. It will give us a chance to check-in and ensure you’re set for the rest of the week with the unsupervised training.
Tuesday, March 17th: *ST. PATRICK‘S DAY* Option 1: warmup; 40min erg castles (Cat 6 = 6km split + 14s); 1×300 circuit; stretching (at least 10min) Option 2: 60min steady-state run OR 90min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min) Option 3: >4hrs alpine skiing (as an alpine skier I’m sad to report that it’s just not as good of a workout as cross-country, so you need to get more hours in); stretching (10min at least)
Wednesday, March 18th: Option 1: warmup; 3x12min ski ladders (22/24/26/28/30/32 -> should be Cat 4) with 8min rest in between; stretching (10min at least) Option 2: 30min run + 5 stair runs (total of about 45-60min) OR 60min cross-country skiing; stretching (at least 10min) Option 3: 3hrs alpine skiing PLUS home circuit (jump squat pyramid 25/50/75/50/25; 3×20 pushups; 3×20 crunches; 3×10 glute contractions each leg (this is the physio exercise we normally do)); stretching (at least 10min)
Thursday, March 19th: Option 1: 20min run; 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching Option 2: 20min erg (5min castles @22/24spm, CAT 5 pace – 6km split + 8s); 300 circuit (1.5m rest between sets); stretching Option 3: 90min cross-country ski OR 4hrs alpine skiing; stretching
Friday, March 20th: Option 1: dynamic warmup; 2x30min erg with 3min rest in between (Cat 6 pace = 6km split +14s); stretching (at least 10min) Option 2: 60min run (or 10-12km distance) OR 90min cross country ski; stretching Option 3: alpine-ski your butt off for at least 5hrs
Saturday March 21st/Sunday March 22nd: OFF
…that’s it, folks!
See you all tomorrow morning @6am at Leander Boat Club,
Tomorrow – 6:40am (safety video):
A friendly reminder that you should arrive by 6:40am (10min later than normal) for tomorrow’s practice, and you can wear regular school clothes. We will ALL be watching a mandatory safety video for on-water rowing. This is mandatory for every athlete rowing on-water this year, even if you’ve seen it before. Please be on time so that we can start the movie right away. Later in the month we’ll be asking everyone to complete a swim-test. For those of you that have completed bronze cross/NLS/etc., you can skip the swim test ONLY if you bring in a recent, valid, photocopy of your certification. These photocopies/images can be handed to your coach.
Help Needed: Coaching Assessment of Alessandra (quick survey)
I’m in need of honest feedback from athletes I currently coach (not parents) as I’m completing my RCA performance coach certification. Feedback is given through an anonymous survey (so you are encouraged to be honest and specific), and you’ll be asked to identify my weaknesses in addition to assessing my coaching abilities.
Please note:this survey is intended for current athletes that I coach/have coached. If I haven’t coached you, please do not fill out the survey – I need the responses to honestly reflect my coaching abilities (and weaknesses), which can only be done if you’ve had me coach you before. This means all of the men’s team is eligible to participate, and some of the women’s team will be able to participate, but only if I’ve coached you during practice.
1) Parent’s Meeting – Thursday, March 26th @7pm in the WSS Library
Mark your calendars: Thursday, April 16th will be the night of Westdale Rowing’s Infamous Chili Cookoff! PREPARE YOUR CROCKPOTS. GET READY FOR A SHOWDOWN. EMPTY STOMACHS WILL BE FILLED. The winner is still to be determined…
The parent’s meeting on Thursday March 26th at 7pm in the WSS library will address the Chili Cookoff (which has been organized by the Parent Reps), as well as important outdoor rowing information (fees, waivers, regatta dates, safety requirements, practice schedule/training requirements at LBC).
2) March Break Training – Monday, March 16th from 6-8am @LBC
There will be one official “At LBC” practice held over March break this year. The team practice will run on Monday, March 16th, from 6-8am at Leander Boat Club. The rest of the week will be comprised of workouts that athletes can complete at home on their own time – these workouts will be posted to this blog. If athletes would like additional assistance with technical development on the erg or on the tank aside from Monday’s practice, then they should contact Alessandra with their availability & the name of a partner that would join in the practice (there must be at least 2 athletes for an extra practice to be held).
3) Welland Tank Session – Sunday, March 29th from 12-3pm @WIFC
We will be holding a mandatory tank session for ALL outdoor rowers on the Men’s & Women’s Teams. The tank session is booked for Sunday, March 29th, and will run from 12-3pm at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). Plan to be there for the entire session, as we will be rotating athletes through the tank & the gym (for information on the facilities available, click here). Directions can be found here, but will also be posted closer to the session date.
See you all tomorrow for the coach-swap,
Big congratulations for your solid efforts this weekend 🙂 You all pushed yourselves to your limits as a team, and we’ve had a lot of crew successes as a result. New records were also set by numerous teams, and trophies for first-place crew finishes were acquired by the Jr. LWT Women, Jr. Women, Sr. LWT Women, Sr. Women, and Sr. Men. WAY TO GO WESTDALE!
This week we’ll be moving into on-water preparation as the indoor season winds down for its final week before the outdoor training begins (though yes, the first few weeks of “outdoor” will likely be “indoor” due to weather). Here’s the schedule:
*PLEASE NOTE: YOUR CLOCKS SHOULD “SPRING FORWARD” ONE HOUR – ALL PRACTICES ARE AT WESTDALE THIS WEEK*
Monday Men –Team meeting; 10min warmup run + dynamic stretching; ergs (it’s a surprise); cooldown & debrief Women – 10min warmup run; 60min weights; cooldown & debrief
Tuesday ALL – Crew Selection Discussion (whole team) Men – 10min warmup run; 40min weights; cooldown & debrief Women – 5min warmup; 3x20min ergs/core/run; cooldown & debrief