BY VOLKER NOLTE | PHOTO BY LISA WORTHY
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The likelihood of achieving your goals, whether academic or athletic, increases substantially with a good plan and preparation. Not only is it important to set exciting goals but also to devise a well-considered process that outlines the steps you need to take to achieve success.
You begin by defining a goal that is challenging and worth your time and effort as well as practical and attainable. Perhaps you want to master rowing in a single scull, or improve your personal best on the ergometer, or make the first varsity, or achieve a top place in a championship final, or make the national team.
Once you know what you’re aiming for, the next thing is plotting how to get there. First, you must decide how much time you’re willing to devote to your quest. When you’re eyeing a contest or selection regatta on a certain date, this becomes both your end point and the starting point of your plan, and you work backward step by step to the present. You now have a time frame and an idea of how long you have to reach your goal.
The next step is to define fixed points where you can check your progress. Typically, these are tests or competitions. The results will give you feedback on how your plan is working and whether or not you need to make adjustments. The final step is to fill in the details of what you wish to accomplish during the training sessions leading to your target date. In doing so, you’ll want to adhere to best practices backed by solid science.
For example, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont offers a tried-and-true way for mastering single sculling. Building an aerobic base and significant strength is a proven method for increasing speed in 2,000-meter races. Developing length, then power, then rating enhances the technical skills needed to compete successfully.
If you have training protocols or experience with workouts designed specifically for your facility or body of water, you should incorporate those into your personal plan, of course. And don’t forget to check your progress through periodic testing, which will determine where you need to improve and what workouts deserve to be continued and what training modes should be changed.
While there are many excellent ideas and suggestions available in magazines, books, and online, be sure to choose reliable information from knowledgeable and accredited sources and tailor whatever training plan you eventually adopt to your individual aims, needs, abilities, and circumstances.