Pre-season Sculling camp
Duration: 5 days
Venue: NRC, Cork
The 2012 DUBC sculling camp commenced early on Monday the 10th of September. With the boat trailer heavily laden with single sculls the athletes and coaches began the journey down to the National Rowing Center in Inniscarra Co. Cork for what would prove to be an eventful and greatly beneficial week working on improving our rowing technique in single sculls.
Upon arrival at the NRC, the trailer was unloaded and the sculls rigged for the first of the water sessions. The more experienced members of the crew aiding the novices in the business of rigging which would soon become second nature to them. With the boats and athletes prepped and prepared the lads took to the water under the watchful eyes of DUBC Senior Coach Gerry Cantan and the incoming DUBC Development Coach Colm Dowling, both having come to DUBC from Commercial RC. Fortunately, the first paddle of the camp took place in good weather conditions allowing athletes, perhaps slightly rusty after the summer break, to reacquaint themselves with sculling. A 12 kilometer low rate paddle followed with each sculler being given advice on aspects of the stroke to augment or improve from Gerry and Colm in their launches. The outing completed, the athletes stowed their boats and after a quick debrief, made their way to the houses in the Lee Valley Golf Course to get on with the important business of eating dinner and getting some much needed rest.
Early the next morning we launched our boats for what would be another 12k paddle. As the group spread out over the lake, the novice scullers were supervised primarily by Colm while Gerry took the inter/senior rowers. After a break for a lunch and a quick power nap the athletes returned for a second session, which followed the familiar pattern of a 12k paddle up the River Lee. The kilometers on the water being covered and Gerry’s constructive criticisms coupled with Colm’s observations began to tell and the the technical standard began to improve noticeably especially among the novices. Tuesday evening found a fatigued DUBC gathered in one of the houses after dinner for a video session of footage taken during the day’s outings; the video helped identify individual flaws in technique and demonstrated elements of the stroke to be improved upon.
On Wednesday there was another long water session in the form of a 14k paddle down to Inniscarra Dam and back. The constant supervision of Gerry and Colm got the two groups down to the dam and back, plus a few blisters, in the never ending pursuit of a the perfect stroke. Following lunch and some rest we returned to the NRC where the the wind had picked up and made the lake very choppy. Instead of a another paddle, a session on the ergs and work in the weights room working on lifting technique complemented what had been another satisfying day of training.
That evening another video session hosted by Gerry exhibiting his unique ability to explain the subtleties of sculling in abstract metaphors added to the developing awareness of the importance of blade placement and leg drive in moving the boat efficiently. Thursday morning again found the DUBC taking to the water but this time for three low rate 2k pieces on the regatta course, with Gerry urging us to out relax one another and maintain the best form possible throughout the pieces, with the competitive nature of many of the athletes coming to the fore as they pushed each other for position. Again the second session of the day could not be carried out on the water due to deteriorating weather and instead a long run was followed by an improvised hand ball type game using a course bouy for a ball.
Friday, the final day of the camp, again found the lake unsuitable for sculling and so more work on the ergometers and some sprints and weightlifting emptied the remaining reserves of energy from the athletes. After the derigging of the sculls and loading the trailer, we bid a fond farewell to the NRC which had hosted us for an intense but productive training camp and set off on the return trip to Dublin and some much needed rest and recuperation. The benefits of going down to Cork to spend a week sculling were immediately clear to all who went, the rigors of sculling in a single provide the best environment for the identification of individual errors and the quickest and clearest platform for ironing them out; there aren’t many places to hide in a single as they say. The emphasis on developing sculling within DUBC and inculcating an ethos of seeking constant improvement has undeniably been a key factor in the club’s recent successes.