HOW THE #$@&%*! DO I HELP MY KID DROP THEIR 2K SCORE?!?

It’s July 1st.

Your son or daughter loves rowing.

When they came home after their first “crew” practice, they were excited. You were so proud. You remembered that “crew” was the sport that the Winklevoss twins did in the Social Network.

Ivy education here we come.

Four year later, your athlete has their first phone call with a collegiate coach because they want to row in college. As your athlete takes the phone call upstairs, you and your spouse try to focus on something else as you wait in anticipation.

20 minutes later your athlete comes downstairs with either their head down or crying.

“What happened?”

“The coach says I need to drop my 2k score…”

There is no app. There are no Cliff Notes. There is no tutor. It is not something you can buy at the store or have dropped by a drone via Amazon. You can’t negotiate with the coach, the Athletic Director, or even the rowing machine itself. You have flashbacks to your glory days of “three-a-day” football practices, early AM swim practices, running “suicides”, baseball or softball double-headers, soccer tournaments, or line drills in hockey. Dreadful moments that you hoped your athlete would not have to go through with rowing. What do you say?

“Um, just do your best…??”

Cue the familiar eye roll, exaggerated sigh, fountain of tears, and even the custom exaggerated statement:

“You don’t get it!”

What the hell is right…

‘TIS THE SEASON

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If you have been a rowing (not crew) parent for a few years now, you have already been through this script. When your athlete comes home frustrated and upset from rowing practice you know that 2k season has begun.

2k season causes chaos in the household.

You make a wonderful dinner, and it is ruined because your athlete won’t eat (needs to make weight/or just can’t eat). You spend the entire evening getting stressed about it because your athlete won’t stop talking or moping about it. And they have to talk about everyone else on the team as well.

This 2k test determines where your athlete ranks on their current team, and will be scrutinized by some collegiate coach or national team coach you have never met or spoken to.  Coaches dangle an unreachable “carrot” that your athlete wants to reach, reminding you of the carnival game where you try to land the quarters on the glass plate. It might not even matter what your athlete pulls for their 2k score, because coaches tend to be like “Superdelegates.”

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If you truly want to help your athlete, and not cause 2k Anxiety, then realize they already understand the task they have before them. It is your perception of the situation that gets you into trouble because it is based solely on what you know.

If you were never an athlete, it will be difficult for you to relate to their physical and mental stress. If you were an athlete, then you have some experience with pregame “jitters”, but it’s not exactly the same in rowing.

If you were a rower, you will probably give the worst advice…

THINGS YOU DON’T SAY

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Below are things you don’t say to your athlete before a 2k test. You mean well, but what works for you may not work for them.

Don’t say:

Why don’t you just pull as hard as you can?

My father said this to me back in 2003, “Why don’t you just pull a 2k everyday, and try to beat your time each time?” Makes sense Dad, why didn’t I think of this? Setting a simple, lofty goal does not work, especially if you aren’t providing a plan to get them there. You also need proof that it would work. The thought of a personal best is overwhelming. Even if your athlete likes to be challenged (see 2k anxiety) you have immediately added more adrenaline to an already tough situation.

Don’t say:

“Hakuna Matata…”

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Ugh. Telling your athlete not to worry about a 2k test, is telling them their goal is not important. Their goal could be to pull a personal best, and now you are telling them not to worry about it. Now they are hesitant to push forward and achieve it, and your nonchalance is only reinforcing that. For those athletes who have a solid goal in mind you must acknowledge this goal. Otherwise, you are telling them that they don’t have a chance, and they will try to spite you by going out too fast or too hard, just to prove you wrong.

Don’t say:

You can do it! If you believe in yourself and you try your hardest…”

STOP. It is okay to try to connect to your athlete emotionally, but the 2k test is a painful experience. If you believe that your athlete will be able to remember your advice to “believe in themselves” with 1200 meters to go,  then don’t be around when they curse your name at that moment. There is nothing inspirational about a 2k test. The harder your athlete pulls the more it hurts, the slower your athlete pulls, the more it hurts.

Don’t say:

Just do it…”

Easier said than done. If you truly want to be inspiring, then you should actually get on a rowing machine and pull a 2k test. Just make sure you don’t eat anything beforehand. You believe you are being tough for your athlete, but they don’t need you to be tough for them. If you don’t acknowledge their emotional roller coaster, then they won’t acknowledge yours the next time you give them a hard time about them missing curfew or not their doing homework. Sport clichés worked in the 1980’s and 1990’s…that was over 20 years ago

Don’t Say:

“Who..What..Where..Why…When…How…?”

Asking your athlete a list of questions is going to create two outcomes. Either you will overwhelm  or overstimulate them. In your quest for information, your athlete will become a deer in headlights, and will question their preparation and even their plan of attack.  If you feed their adrenaline by checking in with more questions they will be inconsistent and unpredictable in their training for the 2k test. Remember who is causing all this turmoil with a million questions – you. This isn’t about you.

Don’t Say:

“Why don’t you just do a 2k tomorrow?”

“A time to laugh… and a time to weep. A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance.” Thank you Kevin Bacon. There is a time dance, and there is a time to do a 2k test. That is what a training plan is for. If your athlete is following a training plan, then it is important not to encourage them to stray from it. Training programs are designed to help athletes peak at the right time. Therefore, if they take a random 2k test, then they are more likely to fail. You wouldn’t appreciate your athlete asking you everyday when you were going to do your taxes or start drafting your will.

Don’t Say:

“You should…”

See “Just Do It” above. Avoid telling your athlete how they should do anything.  Unless you happened to be an elite rowing coach or Olympian, you are going to lose your credibility immediately. “Should” is a powerful word, and should be used in situations of expertise.  If you know little about rowing your athlete will not listen to you. They will either ignore you or do the opposite. Literally, a better way would be to say Do you think you should…?”  It allows the athlete to feel they have control, and you are not just telling them what to do.

Don’t Say:

“Don’t forget that you have to…”

Don’t distract your athlete from their mission. Right now the number #1 mission is to drop their 2k score. If you remind them of other things that they need to be doing (schoolwork, chores, standardized tests, etc) then you are taking their athlete “hat” away and forcing them to put on their student “hat” or son or daughter “hat”.

Moral of the story

It’s July 1st.

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“How the hell do I help my kid drop their 2K score?:

I don’t know…

Just kidding. I do know.

“The coach says I need to drop my 2k score…”

DO Say:

“What do you hope to accomplish?”

“I am hoping to pull a person best.”

“I believe that is a good goal. You certainly have trained hard enough for it, and you should feel confident in yourself.”

Providing positive reinforcement without telling them what they should do, and how they should do it will open the door for them to have a discussion, and maybe ask for some more advice.

And you’ll have something to give them.

First, have the right training program designed to have the correct balance of training components – aerobic, anaerobic, mobility, stability, strength, and power – which are all important to the sport of rowing. The Functional Movement Screen is the first step in revealing which of these components your athlete is missing, and establishing a baseline.

Second, understand what kind of athlete your son or daughter is. You need to know their strengths, and what truly motivates them. The AthleteDISC profile is an excellent tool and resource for your athlete to improve their mindset in training, racing, and performing well on a 2k test.

It’s July 1st.

You can start today. It doesn’t matter if your athlete is from the United States or is an international athlete. It is worth it. Technology is amazing. It allows us all to connect quickly and safely with the click of a button.

Click below to set up your your initial Mindset and Mobility Session. Your athlete will go through an initial Functional Movement Screen and Assessment and will take the AthleteDISC profile to establish their mindset. Once you register on Regatta Central, allow 24 hours for processing and instructions.

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Remember there is nothing wrong with wanting to help your athlete be successful.  We brought our children into society to make it a better place, and are responsible in guiding them through life. We certainly did our best in trying to change the world, but our children are much stronger and smarter than we are.  We can only watch in amazement at all they accomplish. Every once in awhile,  we manage to say the right things, so remember…

If they somehow walk away satisfied with your advice…

 

These are the hilarious jokes you think of at 2am when you have two daughters…

For more information on Strength and Conditioning for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, AthleteDISC, and the Process Communication Model® follow my blog or follow me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

 

 

 

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“PAIN IS THE HUNTER…” – A Horatian Ode to Rowing

“Pain is the hunter,

And we are its prey.

Crusades along the water,

Eternal bouts, end of day.”

 

“Pain no longer instills  fear,

Encounters end with healing scars,

Respectful bows in our defeat.

On this day, the end is near,

The hunter cannot read the stars,

Death to Pain, in our final meet.”

Patrick H. Rufo – 2016

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Moral of the Story

 

For more information on Strength and Conditioning for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells, AthleteDISC, and the Process Communication Model® follow my blog or like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.

 

6 TRUTHS OF ACCOUNTABILITY

One of my greatest strengths is holding myself accountable for what I do as a fitness professional. It might be easy to make excuses for not completing something, however as I have gotten older I realize there really are not any good excuses.

I admit, I still struggle with this with my clients sometimes because I really want to be source of strength for them. I do not want to be just another person in their lives telling them what they are not doing.

Today is not that day. Today I would like you to hold yourself accountable.

Here are 6 Truths of Accountability:

1.  “BELIEVE IN YOUR MISSION”

What is your mission? It is one thing to tell everyone you are going to lose weight, you are going start exercising, you are going to win the Olympics. It is another thing to actually believe it. Do you believe what you are selling to yourself?

There are many distractions and doubts that will cause you to no longer believe in your mission or change it. There are people in your life that may not believe the same things that you do.  There is no reason to change your mission. If you are passionate about it, then you need to do everything to complete it.

The truths below are going to  help you do this.

2. “DO YOUR RESEARCH”

Once you have decided on your mission it is time to see if it is actually possible. Most likely, it is possible. There are always windows of opportunity; you just need to take them. Do your research and find how much work is required to complete it. Ask the experts. Get a few opinions. Ultimately it is up to you which path you take, and this is the time to weigh all the conditions.

Remember you cannot do this alone.

3. “BUILD YOUR SUPPORT”

You do not have to do this yourself. It is okay to share with people what you want to accomplish. It is also okay to ask for help. From the experts to your closest friends and family, everyone will take on a role during your mission. I do not understand clients and athletes that insist on doing it alone. I understand there is satisfaction in being able to say “I did it by myself, and no one else helped me!” Yet, when you turn around to celebrate your accomplishment there will not be anyone to celebrate it with.

Build your “fan base” so you can share your success.

4. “ENJOY THE PROCESS”

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Your mission may be a little out of your reach. It is nice when you can achieve things easily and in a short amount of time. However, most missions a take some time, and the journey may be delayed or stalled for some unseen reason. That is the time to take a look around and see how far you traveled! Remember why you are doing this and who you are this doing for.

Then turn back around and keep going.

5. WELCOME THE CHALLENGE!

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It is not easy. It shouldn’t be easy. If there were not any obstacles, then the journey would not be worth it. The most frustrating thing that I hear from clients and athletes today is, “This is too much work.” What ever happened to your EDGE? We are the greatest species on the planet because of our resourcefulness, our ability to choose, and our versatility. Our ability to adapt is one our greatest strengths; if we are not utilizing our abilities as human beings then how can we call ourselves great?

All of us have the ability to accomplish the mission; just at different times.

6.  “GO AT YOUR PACE”

Everyone should go at their own pace. Some of us can explode right out of the gates and accomplish great things in a short amount of time. Some of us need more time. In the end, we all reach the same place, therefore it does not matter how we get there. During our research, we develop a plan and follow it. Our support system will be there along the way and we will have time to enjoy it.

Everyone’s journey is unique.

Moral of the Story

I have been stewing about this blog all week.

Writing is challenging for me, but since I started this blog it has gotten easier. My biggest challenge is saying what I want to say.

I was finally able to write today because of what happened to someone I cared about…

They did not believe in themselves…

It drives me crazy. In this instance, the person had doubts because someone who did not support them told them they were failing.

What right does someone have to tell you you are failing  at your own mission?

My athletes want to see success now. They want to be fast now. Mostly because they see other athletes that are currently having success in training and competition.

Keep in mind that those individuals decided their mission a long time ago. They did their research and have built the necessary support system around them. They are now finally enjoying the process and have settled into their pace.

That is what makes it seem so easy from the outside. They have found balance between the challenges of their mission and their ability to reach their goals.

Stop.

Look down. The starting line is at your feet, and you are just beginning your mission.

Look ahead.

The finish line is there in front of you.

Take these 6 Truths of Accountability with you as you begin your journey…

I am right there with you.

For more information on training programs for rowing, rowing technique, Kettlebells, Clubbells or athletic consulting with AthleteDISC, and the Process Communication Model® like me on Facebook at RUFO OPTIMAL WORKOUTS.