Captain's report: Charlie Landale
A professional era
Michaelmas 2010 will go down in the annals of DUBC history. The first fruits of the LEBC appeal began to grow, as the hard work of the team involved in bringing the club into a new professional era were realised with the appointment of Neal Byrne as Novice Development coach.
From the organisation of the Open Day at the end of Freshers’ week, it was clear that a professional coach would make a substantial impact on the club and the way things were done. Since then, Neal has driven the Novice squad to a new level of fitness and co-ordination in a very short space of time.
The novices suffered their first 2k erg test in late November, and produced some impressive scores, the top twelve improving their times almost 5% on the last five years' crews. Not only has their fitness improved at a previously unseen rate, retention of athletes is up on past years as well. Currently there are 48 regularly attending weekend training sessions, enough to put six eights out on the water and twice as many as this time last year.
A historic victory
Meanwhile, the Senior group has not sat idle! With a historic victory in the Dublin Sculling ladder (the first in the club’s history), the small boat programme is starting to pay dividends. With five scullers finishing in the top ten and twenty competing in total, the other Islandbridge clubs were somewhat surprised at the result.
The water training has since moved out to Blessington, where athletes are clocking up between 40 to 50 kilometres per weekend. The land training has been made considerably easier and more efficient thanks to the weights and ten new ergos in college, which the LEBC appeal so generously paid for. All of this has taken place under the watchful eye of Gerry Cantan, who has recently retired from the DIT and is now effectively a second full-time coach.
Keeping a technical thread running through the club is vital to the success of future crews and athletes’ development. Mark Pattison has taken on a role as Director of Coaching, and has been monitoring the progress of both the Novice and Senior groups. He and a number of other old boys have also been seen on the bank, helping Neal coach some of his Novice crews, and providing what one of them described as “the bad cop style of coaching” to Neal’s ever-patient methods...
Many thanks are due to everyone who has contributed to DUBC in any way over the last twelve months. The club is in rude health, thanks in a large part to the donations of both money and time that so many of you have made. We are aiming for sustainable success in the New Year and beyond, and hope that you will play some part in it too.
A word from Neal Byrne
Firstly, I would like to publicly thank DUBC for the opportunity to work within a club with such an expansive history, a history that I hope to add to during my time here.
Since my retirement from rowing and completing studies in sports rehabilitation it has been my goal to get back to the sport from a development perspective. Using my experiences as an athlete in conjunction with my academic knowledge I have set out to educate the incoming novices on the importance of good biomechanics and posture.
Following the initial successful sign-up during Freshers Week and the Open Day in the boathouse the new recruits were invited along to circuit training classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The goal of these classes was to use sport specific exercises that encourage and promote the development of correct movement patterns specific to rowing. After the first couple of weeks three additional ergometer sessions were added to the midweek training plan. These sessions were used to carry the movement patterns developed in the circuit classes into the rowing stroke. These midweek ergometer sessions also bridged the gap between weekends, meaning athletes were exposed to the rowing stroke on a more frequent basis.
Technical progress has been positive so the next step in the plan is strength, fitness and mental toughness. The group had their first test at the end of November in the form of a 2k ergometer trial. This test was very important for the group as it exposed them to competitive rowing and it enhanced the level of competition within the group. Since then there has been an introduction of set ergometer work pieces during which the atmosphere is palpable as each individual aims to maintain a lower split than the man next door.
After the Christmas break the group will be going on a 4 day training camp to Blessington Lakes. This will be their first exposure to a camp environment and the level of training that a camp entails. The emphasis of the camp will be on ironing out any technical issues while taking the work pieces from the ergometer onto the water. This will be an important phase as it will open the group up to some much needed side by side work which will be the building blocks to establishing a ‘racing spirit’ within the group. This will set the group up to take on and be confident as they embark on their first race at the beginning of February.
Since taking on the role of Development Coach for DUBC I have had nothing but fun and everyday has been a new learning experience for myself and for the group (I hope). Knowing I have the support of the club and the fact that I can call upon Mark Pattison, John Mohan, Charlie Landale or Gerry Cantan at any time for advice is very reassuring. For this year I am very excited about the prospects of the current group, all signs point to a positive outcome but beyond this I am delighted to be in a position to lay the foundation for building potential top class senior athletes.
Thank you again to the club as a whole and also to all the individuals who are giving of their time to volunteer their coaching expertise at weekends, without you the programme simply would not work.
Save the date...
Saturday, 26th February 2011 -- Trial VIIIs Dinner (all old boys are invited)
Thursday, 17th March 2011 -- Gannon Cup
Saturday, 16th April 2011 -- Trinity Regatta
Many members will have heard of Mark's injury last year, days after his successful circumnavigation of Ireland. Mark tweets with, frankly, alarming regularity at twitter.com/markpollock, with lengthier effusions on his blog at www.markpollock.com/blog.
Mark is currently on a short hiatus from public speaking while he undergoes medical treatment in the UK. He is, however, contactable via his website, www.markpollock.com/ for inquiries about public speaking arrangements for future events.
Old members will be in touch in the coming weeks to discuss how we might support Mark at this time.
Qualify as an umpire
The sweetest pint of Guinness is always enjoyed after a spot of work outdoors. D.U.B.C. has been tremendously successful in growing its pool of athletes and coaches, but one area where we are woefully deficient is Umpires. If you crave the power to make or break a hard working crew's season, please give us a call. The next sitting for Umpires Exams is in February. Passing is not difficult and it will not require long hours in the Berkley Library.....unless you want it to. Please notify the Captain if you are interested in moving into the upper echelons of the rowing world.
Wanted: architects, engineers and builders!
The Long Term Committee, working on (among other things) the future of the Boathouse, would benefit greatly from the advice of a practicing civil engineer, architect or builder. If any old members are in practice, John Mohan would like to hear from you! This would not be a major time commitment.
On the web: www.tcdlife.ie/clubs/boat/
On facebook: tinyurl.com/DUBC2011
On twitter: twitter.com/dublinunibc
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