Rowing blog: everyone has a role to play

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Within a few weeks we will be at the start of the European Rowing Championships (ERCH), totally ready and confident of our abilities and limitations. Right now we are, as a team, giving everything we have to make our dreams come true. Both physically as mentally. ‘Team work makes the dream work’, and in order to do so we have to take every aspect into account to make sure we are ready for the upcoming races.

In the latest blogpost Aletta gave a sneak peak of our training camp in Seville. When we returned to the Netherlands we made sure not to forget to take the Spanish spring weather with us. Immediately after we set foot on Dutch soil, weather records were broken. Within less than a week, the icy winter wonderland had transformed into a very pleasant spring landscape. Fortunately, this enabled us to continue our rowing practices undisturbed.

Tough training schedule

The ERCH are coming up quite soon, quickly followed by the very exciting (though nerve wrecking) Olympic Qualification Regatta. For that reason we are taking the training schedule up a notch in these last weeks of preparation. The week is filled with very tough trainings sessions, varying from intensive sprints to long distances over the river Amstel in Amsterdam. The upcoming ERCH motivate us greatly and everyone is putting in maximum effort.

In between rowing practices there is always an awkward time gap, since it is too short to be useful, too long to be insignificant. One could, for example, fill this time with a recovery nap, a good book, or use the time to do your procrastinated chores. I’ve made it my very own specialty to hang around the training center chatting with anyone willing to join the conversation.

Personality types

These conversations recently took an interesting turn. They were suddenly filled with interesting discussions concerning our personal values and roles. These discussions originated out of the results we got from a personality test. For this test we all had to fill in a form containing statements, from which we had to choose the most suitable ones.

Based on its results, a specific personality type was assigned to us. We received a document including a very extensive personality description. These descriptions were based on five aspects: emotionality, willingness, energy, affection and control. It then told you a lot about your personality traits within a group and how it affected other people and vice versa. In other words, everyone has a role to play and serves the team in their own way. Very interesting! It became even more exciting when we started comparing these personality types with each other. It resulted in the most curious insights. For example, I turned out to be a so-called ‘facilitator’; someone who is very creative, but unwilling to plan anything too far ahead in the future. This was quite similar to some teammates, but differed greatly from others, leading to interesting discussions and insights. Learning about each other’s characteristics is in my opinion very important in order to keep the communication within a group transparent and constructive. By doing so, we as a team are stepping up the mental game, preparing ourselves even more thoroughly for the upcoming events.

Top sport is not only about training hard and making a lot of kilometers. The mental aspect and the team vibe are also extremely important. By understanding our differences we can turn them into strengths that bind us together even more. Right now we are, as a team, giving everything we have to make our dreams come true. I am very excited about the upcoming races and cannot wait! Can you?