By Jim on Monday, May 3, 2010
Australian kayak championships 2010 are the finally for all athletes competing in the sport of sprint kayak in Australia.
The most difficult thing about the final races of the season is that they are selection races, pride races and most of all the races that you judge yourself and your training off.
With all of this comes a lot of pressure and if you are new to the sport it is often pressure that it hard to handle.
Refer to our mental training for better performance podcast for areas to improve training and racing.
The sport of sprint kayak is difficult. You need experience and you need to know what a race plan is. This is also difficult because, as you grow in your years of paddling, you develop new skills. The important thing about having a race plan is having a plan that you can follow during a race, that you have worked on and have trained over and over both on the water and off. For a 1000m race that may look like - go out hard for 200m, be strong with boat run for 300m, then a small lift for 100m and finally build home with your strong finish 150m out. A race plan will help to settle nerves as you focus on the plan at the start line. The race plan also keeps you on track and on task throughout the race.
There are many different race plans. Clint Robinson was always a strong leader who leads from the front. Clint dominated by having his boat in front at all times.
Ken Wallace is a paddler who’s race plan has him leading at the most important time, right at the finish line. He tends to go out a bit slower and comes home very strong, leaving him with a very consistent pace throughout the race, never slowing just getting faster. Watch his win here.
Most important thing about these race plans is that they are all personal. These two paddlers have practice and perfected these plans for many years before they found their winning formula.
The performance of your season shouldn’t be judged off just one National Championships, you need to look at your season as a whole. Yes there is merit in making the Nationals your races to see how much you have improved but sometimes you maybe unwell, have stepped into a new age group or just trained so well you just got to nervous at the big one.
So your season should be judged over the whole season, racing ,training and how much you have learnt throughout the season compared to where you were last year.
In my own case, as coach, I had an athlete who 12mths ago I wished for him to make the B Final and at the Nationals this year he only just missed the A Final. When racing the B Final he did his very best. This is a season he should be very happy with. A major step up.
His goal next year will be to work out what extra he has to do to make the A Final.
It is funny though once you reach your goal you become so much hungrier then before. With this in mind you must always look back to see how far you have come to see your improvement.
Take the time reflect on your season a little after the event to see how much you have improve and with that have a pen and paper handy to write down what you have to do to live out your dream the following season.
Remember the power of your dream is the most powerful tool you can use in training.
Some dreams that have come true at these nationals are: