With only 24 days until the start of National Schools' Regatta we explore how junior rowers might consider how they measure their performances.
The ultimate goal for many of our competitors is to win a coveted medal but there are numerous other measures of success that are just as valuable.
These measures can include personal bests, improvement over time, and overcoming challenges or competing to complete a 2000m course for the first time. The truth is that most rowers at National Schools' Regatta will not win a medal, but every competitor can achieve success. We just need to shine a light on it.
One of the ways to measure success in sports is through personal bests. Every rower and crew will have their goals. Achieving those goals can be incredibly rewarding build confidence and deliver achievement. For the junior rowers, this could be, a crew best time over 2000m, it could be an improved start sequence or a great final 500m push. For our youngest competitors, the Junior 14's, it may be completing the course and getting their first best competition time on the board.
Athletes who are dedicated to their sport are always looking for ways to improve their skills and abilities. This can be through training more thoughtfully, working on technique, or seeking out advice from coaches or crew mates. For the cox, this may be working on the vocabulary used during the race, seeking out ways to support the crew or an individual at specific points in a race.
When an athlete sees improvement in their performance it can be the sign they need that they are on the right track and making progress.
Overcoming challenges is also a key measure of success in sports. Whether it is an injury, a difficult opponent, or a mental block, athletes face many challenges that can be difficult to overcome. When an athlete is able to work through these challenges and come out on the other side stronger and more resilient, it is a sign of true success.
For example, a rower who has been struggling with a particular technical element and finally nails it in competition can feel a sense of accomplishment. A rower may be coming back from injury and have been rehabilitating steadily to ensure they are in the best place to race. For some, sitting on the start line of a race and being able to compete is in itself a joy and a huge success.
It is also important to remember that success in sports is not just about the outcome of a single competition or event. It is about the journey and the process of getting there. The journey towards 'success' can be just as rewarding as the destination, and athletes who are able to enjoy the process and learn from their experiences will be more likely to achieve their goals in the long run. Rowers who are able to find joy and fulfilment in their sport, regardless of the outcome, are the ones who will continue to excel and inspire others to do the same.
All the juniors racing at National Schools' Regatta will have all put in the hard work and effort to improve. They are already successful, regardless of whether they win a medal or not.
Ultimately, the most important measure of success in sports is personal satisfaction. Athletes who are able to look back on their performances with a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that they gave it their all, are the ones who have truly succeeded.
Over the next few weeks, Coaches will be working with crews to define what success might look like. They will be supporting the rowers to reflect on every outing, encouraging the rowers to critique each session constructively. This way, the crews and individuals will keep improving their technique and approach in the build up to National Schools'.
So when it comes to race day, we want to shine a light on success, in all its forms. How can you help? We ask you to share photos of your junior rowing team with the hashtag #IRacedNatSchools2023 and #BeyondThePodium please say why your crew is celebrating success.
Good luck with all your training, we look forward to seeing our competitors on the start line!