The 2008 Olympic K1 1000m champion and Canoe Racing NZ coach Tim Brabants shares his pearls of wisdom for developing paddlers.
*Have set goals both for what you want to achieve academically and within sport. Ensure these have clear timelines attached with regular check points to ensure progress and allow for adaptation as required.
*Understand that you can’t achieve everything and at times, some things need to be sacrificed in order to have the physical and mental energy to do other things well. For example, sometimes social life will suffer in order to get through a tougher block of training or academic work. It is important to maintain a life outside of these things, but in a balance that works for you.
*Communicate well and ahead of time with coaches, family and teachers about what you need to do and the different factors competing with your time and energy.
*Be efficient with the limited time you have. Break your day into packets of time that you can apply to study, training, rest, family, friends etc. The size of these packets of time can be adaptable according to the time of year and what you have to get done at that time.
*Sleep and recovery time are so important to remain productive. You can only train as hard as you can recover and make the adaptations from training. So give your body and brain a chance to rest too.
*Reward yourself when you achieve targets and then set new ones. It may be as simple as stopping after an hour of intense study to shoot a few hoops of basketball or go for a walk. Something that you look forward to that you feel you have really learnt from the hard graft put in.
*Understand it is a long journey of trial and error. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. Be brave, push boundaries, learn positively from mistakes and set your goals appropriately high.
*Talk to friends, family, fellow athletes, coaches when times are tough but also when things are going well. It helps to share the journey.