Performance evaluation: Subjective

Starting our blog series last week we showed you how to determine where you are with your paddling performance. Today we want to show you 3 tools to help you build your strategy for paddling success. Grab a big mug of coffee, paper and pen and you are ready to start!

Follows a short description of each tool. The complete material you will need to use these tools is ready for you to download here.

Tool #1: The evergreen SWOT analysis

S.W.O.T. is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A SWOT analysis is an organized list of the greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the situation you are examining. Conducting a SWOT analysis of just about any problem or situation you encounter on your path to faster paddling is a lot more fun than it sounds. It won’t take much time and doing it forces you to think about your sport in a whole new way.

The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to help you develop a strong strategy by making sure you’ve considered all of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats you are facing in the problem or situation you try to solve. Strengths and weaknesses are internal to your situation (think: goals, plans, work done, your abilities, weak points, past wins and past mistakes). You can change them over time but not without some work. Opportunities and threats are external (think: competition, talent, injuries, weather)—they are out there, sometimes happening whether you like it or not.

Example when to use this tool:

  • You need to decide where to go for spring training camp
  • You want to decide on which distance or boat class to focus on
  • You want to be sharp and ready at the selection races in spring and you do a SWOT analysis of where your career is standing right now and on what areas to work on in winter the most
  • You have tested two different paddles and can’t decide which one is better for you

Tool #2: The Athelete CANVAS

We created the Athlete Canvas adapting the Business Model Canvas companies use to develop new businesses or improve the existing ones. Our Athlete Canvas is a tool that will help you build a strategy for your athletic future based on your individual situation aligned with your goals, needs and limitations. If you take enough time and thought there will be one piece of paper in front of you at the end displaying every important building block of your winning strategy.

How to use this tool: all you need is a calm mind, a piece of paper and a pen. Try brainstorming alone or with people who know you and your sport best which can all be great fun!

Tool #3: Determining where you stand in the LTAD model

Children, youth and adults need to do the right things at the right time to develop their full athletic potential. The Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model describes the things athletes need to be doing at specific ages and stages. If you are a kid who just learned to paddle, if you are a 17 year old boy aiming for the national team or if you are a professional athlete looking for a jump from final to podium your training will be completely different even if all three of you are dreaming about winning the Olympics.

With this tool you will learn what are the:

  • Phases of every athlete’s development
  • Chronological age, Biological age, Athletic age
  • When should you try to develop certain skills
  • What is the focus in each of the development phases
  • What and when are the critical windows of trainability
  • How should the training volume develop
  • How to monitor all of the above

This is a complex tool, it takes a lot of studying and experience to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and devise a bulletproof plan. For young athletes it is often very hard to handle this process for themselves therefore help from an experienced coach is highly recommended here.

How to use this tool: Try to determine what is the stage of your athletic development from the graph bellow. Then do a bit of homework and read the documents the Canadian and British canoe federations have prepared. It is 2 very comprehensive and useful documents not too hard to understand.

Examples from the TiP Athlete Career Graph:

*A: a little 10y.o. girl who has just learned paddling this summer and is looking to join the local kayak club

*B: a young 13y.o. boy who has been training 3 times per week for the last 3 years, his goal at the moment is to learn and gain as much experience as possible and get himself ready for more training in the next seasons

*C: a 16yo girl who can paddle well and has been training and competing for the past 5 years, her goal is to build her body and gain enough race experience to join the club’s performance squad next season

*D: a 18y.o. big boy, last year he managed to be in the national team and this year he is aiming at a Junior Worlds final, he’s training program is already pretty serious

*E: think of E.V.Larsen when he won Olympic gold in Athens 2004

*F: think of E.V.Larsen when he won Olympic gold in London 2012

*G: think of a middle aged guy paddling with his buddies 3 times per week to keep fit and because being on the water is fun

Find a downloadable version of all the diagrams and forms in this post, along with suggested readings on our Free Resources page.

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