Fri, September 20, 2013

Five ways to improve Rowing Canada

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency


Canada's team rows during the men's eight heat at the Eton Dorney during the London 2012 Olympic Games July 28, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young


Canada had what was, in some cases, a disappointing result at the Olympic regatta this week. No question, there were admirable performances turned in by the men’s and women’s eights to earn Canada’s only silver medals of these Games so far. But the result for some other boats were below expectations and Canada, which earned four medals in Beijing (gold, silver and two bronze), is coming home with just two this time around. After talking to those connected to the world of rowing, here are five suggestions on how Canada can improve results:

1. Race more. It’s a delicate balance between training and competition, but at least one former rower contacted by QMI Agency suggested the trend towards more training and less competing doesn’t prepare athletes adequately. “You get race ready by racing,” said the rower.

2. Ramp up the hunt for talent: Rowing Canada has had a program to identify potential high-performance athletes. Anybody who thinks they have the potential to be a world-class rowing can go to rowingcanada.org and they can get tested.

3. Keep Mike Spracklen around: The veteran coach can rub some people the wrong way, but he gets results. His contract is now up.

4. Host the world championships: Exposure is important to create interest. The last time Canada host the world championships was in 1999. Who knows what potential rowing great might be inspired by seeing a big rowing event live?

5. Tap into today’s Olympians: After ending his career at the Olympics Friday, Calder said he wanted to create a legacy for Canadian rowing. Intelligent, experienced rowers like himself should get involved in helping the next generation of rowers improve. Good for him to want to contribute. Rowing Canada should find a place for guys like him who are willing to volunteer their services.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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