From Club to country

*taken from a piece I wrote for the Leander Club Spring Newsletter

Since September 2016 I have been a proud Leander member training in the British Rowing Team at Caversham. The past 6 months have been hard but hugely enjoyable and I’d like to share my experience with you in this piece.

Context

Fresh new olympiad

Training life at the National Centre, in Caversham, is much the same as what I experienced at Leander. The intensity is just a bit higher, the attention to detail is a little more with a dedicated team of sports scientists keeping a close eye on things. We train three times a day whereas at Leander I trained twice a day.

What’s definitely noticeable and something that certainly takes some getting used to is the long sightedness of Head Coach Jürgen Grobler and his coaches. Personally, I am very much operating on a week-by-week basis focusing on just surviving each day. I worry about each test as it comes and then move onto the next. But you can see in the more experienced guys that the work is all going in towards building themselves for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The intensity of the training is still ferocious but those guys don’t necessary worry about performing at 100% every day. They know when the important days are and pull out the big guns when it really matters. When I was training at Leander I would tear around training as hard as I could every session. Training is tough, really tough and most of the team work in the afternoons to fund their training. The attitude in the national team is subtly different where the goal is to complete the training to a very high standard session on session, day on day, month on month building towards 2020.

Leander launchpad

In my opinion Leander offers an unparalleled launchpad towards the national team. Unlike any club I’ve rowed at, everything is put on a plate for the athletes. The facilities, the coaching staff, the boats, the kitchen and food provision, the behind the scenes logistics and the overarching support from the Club, which enables athletes to purely, focus on the rowing. That said the training is tough, very tough and all the athletes have to work in their free afternoons to fund their training lifestyle.

Rowing with the British Team is what I’ve always wanted to do and I am absolutely loving it but Caversham will never have that intangible feel of history and togetherness that Leander has. We’ve all been at the club during the regatta and would agree that the atmosphere is like none other. All the athletes, members and staff give the club an amazing community feel and atmosphere. Caversham is deliberately clinical and generates results. But I do miss the club feel of Leander

Ahead

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