Saturday, August 4, 2007

Finding center

Today was time trial for the time trial for the sea games. Wtf right?

Individually we need to qualify today to go for the time trial as a group for the sports council to see if we're good enough to be sent to the sea games.

I was unusually nervous today because my wrist has been getting from bad to worse while I row on the left side... and that's all I've been practicing, save for one session on the right. Being able to row on both sides has its pluses, but if you don't practice on one side, it really isn't going to be all that great.

So yeah, I planned to aim for a spot on the left side while rowing on my right. Which turned out to fail terribly as the lack of practice on that side obviously nerfed my speed.

So it was do or die.... best compromise I came up with was to row on the left side for the last set at 90% instead of 100%, while not using the reverse buggy whip and drive B... my more powerful strokes for heavy boat situations. To compensate I had to do something funny to my kicking.... so now my left leg is hurting quite a bit. Ended prematurely while coach yelled out the timing. Like that's as good as calling to stop, right? Turns out he just yelled it for fun or something and I ended up gliding in while I had to eject the paddle out of my top arm out of tightness.

But in the end, I guess I'm lucky that despite the handicap and screw up, I had a good enough timing to make the cut.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of the SAFSA guys. I felt proud for some of them, yet shared their disappointment. As in felt their disappointment, not felt disappointed in them. I remember the last time the trial was held for the last sea games, I couldn't train much because it was the period when I was going through BMT and subsequently was going for course, so no attaching out, and senseless combat training.... with ridiculously little amounts of physical training. So I know how they feel, and I know that I can't really say much to make them feel better.

But I also am proud that they feel the anger and disappointment, because as a sportsman, if you don't have them, you're as good as useless.

Also interesting to be able to confirm a theory today. That each natural stroke is the most effective for an individual. Looking at the bent arms of Allen, or the short reach of Chun Hao, executing the stroke that was because their body tells them so strongly that that is what it is comfortable with and that is what will get them to move the fastest.

As a leader and trainer previously I always knew that as each person's body is different, each person's strengths and weaknesses are different, so too must each person's ideal stroke be. This is their greatest strength as an individual, but their greatest weakness in a team, because variations in stroke would mean small changes in timings in different parts of the stroke, which would affect their team mates in a negative manner, preventing them from giving their best, because of clashes in space, paddles or just plain frustration.

Its that balance of both unique technique and compromise for the team that is required in a team sport.

Sometimes I wonder what my natural stroke would be like. I take pride in being able to assimilate any stroke from any team, seeing the strengths, the weaknesses, and executing them with ease. But such comfortability to conform to any stroke comes at the price of not being able to recognize what would be best for myself by feeling.

So all I can do is calculate and estimate in a technical manner. Which can be quite tedious at most times.

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