BY VOLKER NOLTE
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
In one of my first identification camps for the German junior national team many years back, I had the privilege of meeting the legendary Karl Adam, one of the most influential and successful rowing coaches ever and a true visionary.
I remember well what he said to us: “Technique brings centimeters, fitness meters.”
For Adam, this meant that while he would still focus on technique, he didn’t worry overly about the small details. He based his regime primarily on physical development, bringing interval training to rowing, putting his athletes in small boats, and spending considerable time on strength and cross-training.
The same philosophy holds true for masters athletes. But after diving into serious training, many older rowers soon realize they are limited by their inability to recuperate quickly.
Instead of growing discouraged, however, we should remember that there are many centimeters to be gained through technique training. The challenge is to make this training meaningful. Instead of resorting to the same old drills, try new ones or play games on the water.
It’s also important to keep an older body agile and pliable. Perform a mix of balance exercises and extreme variations in stroke rate and stroke length. This reprieve from intense training will allow you to find centimeters—and, eventually, meters when you can again give it your all in your next physical session.