At our March OC Catch-up Meeting we took a look at the remaining components of the technique, look at how to deal with performance pressure and discussed the State Titles training plan and Hamo approach for 2011.

At our March OC Catch-up Meeting we took a look at the remaining components of the technique, look at how to deal with performance pressure and discussed the State Titles training plan and Hamo approach for 2011.

Power Phase Checklist
Straight arms
– ensures they act only as links to the bigger muscles on your torso

Catch and leg drive in sync – for maximum power and efficiency

Accelerate blade from catch to exit – ensures you don’t wipe of the speed you just put on

Check out Part II of the John Puakea/Danny Ching Clinic for more insights on the power phase.

Relaxed face – relax your face and a relaxed body will follow

Relaxed shoulders – promotes blood flow to key paddling muscles

Speed up recovery to achieve higher rate into the wind – power phase will be long due to lower canoe speed so speed up recovery to maintain a higher rate

Check out Part V of the John Puakea/Danny Ching Clinic from 5:48min to the end for their take on the recovery.

Uncle Doug McGinty’s Story Time
We heard a tale from a great book by Matthew Syed’s called Bounce: How Champions are Made on responding to pressure in the biggest sporting arena in the world.

The selection process and possible crew structures were discussed and questions answers. Details can be found in Billy’s email to PDoc of Mar 1. FOr general info visitour Road to Hamo webpage.

Where From/Where To
Those not aiming for top crews

We updated everyone on how the PD OC State Title Training Plan applies to those not aiming for top crews as well as the Road to Hamo:
– new paddlers are aiming for 1 session/wk
– those on the Road to Hamo are aiming for 3 sessions/wk

Those aiming for top crews
Check out an updated version of the PD OC State Title Training Plan including key sessions remaining highlighted in yellow.
Click here for details of updated training targets and season goals. It was agreed to continue these into the Hamo campaign.

Performance Pressure… the good, the bad and the ugly
Pressure to perform is something we all face from time to time whether it be in a job interview, presenting to a large group, going on a first date, learning complex tasks like driving, and of course in sport…

Jean Van der Velde with a three stroke lead going into the final hole of the 1999 British Open

Jana Novotna in the 1993 Wimbledon Women’s tennis final

Gavin Hastings goal kick in front of the posts in the semi-final of the 1991 Rugby World Cup

And for someone who sought out some extra pressure, Lindsay Jacobellis in the final straight of the 2006 Boardercross Olympic final here and here to see what really happened.

Whether we like it or not our minds will wander when under pressure…
• what are our opponent’s doing
• where is the steerer going
• I don’t think I can sustain this intensity
• will we beat the crew next to us
• they’re catching more runs than us
• their canoe surfs better than ours
• don’t think about the opposition
• I hope we don’t huli

Although these are very all interesting things to think about, they ultimately don’t assist our performance.

They are however a natural and involuntary response by the brain to want to anticipate the future. In the days of dodging sabre-tooth tigers this was a handy asset to have!

They occur more when we are under pressure and juggling lots of thoughts. They also occur more when we are low on energy.

The brain weighs 2% of your bodyweight yet consumes 20% of your calories! When low on fuel our brain conserves energy by resting our more rational components and using its more primitive auto-pilot.

Here are three tools you ca try tp help your mind deliver the right thoughts when under pressure…

1. Reinterpret your reaction
High heart rate, sweaty palms and a stomach full of butterflies are some of the ways we physically respond when facing a pressure situation. They also can occur at exciting times when we’re falling in love, unwrapping a present or looking forward to an awesome experience.

When you feel these reactions take it as a sign you’re amped up for the event and ready to give it your best.

2. Put yourself under pressure
You can practice basketball free-throws to your heart’s content but to get good at the pressure free-throws that win matches you need to practice them under pressure.

When it comes to paddling you need to do lots and lots of races. DB, OC, SC, the lot! There is simply no substitute for racing.

Then bring that same race mindset to training. Put yourself under pressure to nail your technique and intensity right through the very last set, challenge yourself to keep your mind on a perfect catch when other canoes are all around you, recognise and respond to every run as if a race depended on it,… If you’re a steerer make every line a race line and every turn a race turn.

3. Next and relevant
To get our brains thinking about the kind of things that help us go fast or handle a challenging ocean we need to trick ourselves out of our involuntary mind-wandering routine.

One way to do this is to replace involuntary responses with a neutral focus such as blue of water, tape/sticker on your paddle, breath, part of our race top.

This creates a blank page from which the next and relevant action can be determined.

It takes practice to ensure you don’t overlook your neutral focus and drift off into mind-wandering auto-pilot.

However with practice, the neutral focus you choose should become an automatic port of call for your mind so even when under pressure or low on energy it will prompt you bring your mind back to the next and relevant action.