Team Totally Awesome, along with the national skeeler squad for the Netherlands spent the day rowing coxed fours in Amsterdam forest. The session was the final training in a short training camp organized by SBN coach Desly Hill.
While rowing boats is not normally the first thing one thinks about when designing training exercises for speed skaters, its main objective was team-building. “It’s all about team work” said coach Desly Hill, who also coaches Team Totally Awesome, the team formerly known as Team Gold Rush.
There are many obvious team sports which seem more obvious choices for team-building, but rowing is especially unforgiving on individuals who do not accommodate the team. Under the watchful guidance of instructors from the rowing club who also acted as coxswains, the large group was split into crews of four and given the responsibility of a boat.
Older boats were used, as they are more difficult to capsize and are also more robust and able to withstand minor collisions. Although no official racing was conducted, the competitive spirit of the team resulted in a handful of small-scale encounters out on the 2000m course on an artificial lake. Though only a few members of the team had any previous experience with the sport, by the end of the time, most of the skaters had acquired at least a passable rowing technique.
The conditions were ideal, with temperatures in the mid to high teens. However, there was a fairly strong headwind on the down leg of the course. The day was generally enjoyed by most and an ample and relaxing lunch helped ensure that all the athletes had all they needed for a good recovery from the workout.
photos courtesy of Jente Bonté