Spring Break Means Important Training Time for Rowers
March 22, 2002
Austin, Texas - Glenna Yokum wouldn't think of being anywhere else.
Not that she didn't have choices. The Kansas State senior could have been with friends or classmates in a usual Spring Break hangout like Fort Lauderdale or South Padre Island.
But Yokum is spending the Spring Break of her senior year with her Kansas State rowing teammates in Austin for a week of on- and off-water training. The week of rowing immersion ends with competitions from Friday through Sunday at Town Lake in the Longhorn Invitational.
Spring Break week for the Wildcat rowers means being on the water for training, individual challenges for seats in the varsity eight boat, team-building exercises and racing matchups with Texas, SMU, Tulsa and Clemson.
Yokum said the week is also about focus.
"Everyone knows this week, our focus is to get faster," said the senior from Iola, Kan. "During classes, there are so many distractions. But rowing is so much about focus. We can improve so much over a short amount of time."
Still, wasn't there a lure of beaches and the typical Spring Break revelry?
"Maybe my freshman year I wished I could go somewhere else," she said. "But I thought about it on the bus coming down here. I knew I didn't want to be anywhere else than to be with my teammates. I have the rest of my lift to take trips like that. But I only have four years to spend with the people on this team."
One of the benefits of the prolonged road trip, Yokum said, is taking the time to better know her teammates.
"We did an activity where we wrote down what each person contributes to the team," she said. "That type of team-building helps a lot and you learn about the people you're with. We go to dinner together, go shopping together. Before, for some of the people on the team, you know their name, but not much past that. This is a really good experience."
For its part, the Wildcat coaching staff appreciates the opportunity to have the team members concentrate almost exclusively on their sport, much like two-a-days in football.
"There are no books, no tests. We kind of have them as a captive audience this week," said Wildcat head coach Jenny Hale. "We did some mental training and some team-building exercises.
"One of the things we did was to take a look at how different people handle competition, how they handle conflict differently and how they handle feedback differently both from their teammates and their coaches. That's been pretty valuable."
Hale said that the commitment made by the Wildcat rowers is the same as that made by student-athletes on Wildcat teams such as baseball, golf or track and field.
"It's like any sport that is in season," said Hale. "It's something when they come out on day one, we put it out there in black and white that this is on the schedule. It's part of making the commitment. They know back in September when they lace up their clogs in the boat, this vacation time is spoken for.
"I think a lot of them don't even think of it as Spring Break. They just think that the spring racing season has begun."
This particular week of training has been positive, Hale said, due to some fundamental work on the catch - the point at which the oar goes into the water to provide the maximum force and speed for the boat.
In addition, the Wildcats have worked on their boat assignments this week, trying to get the right person in the right position in the right boat for the fastest combination.
"This is without a doubt the most difficult varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four we've had to put together," said Hale. "The margins are very tight in the seat racing. We can move three or four people around in different combinations, and that's a new level for us. We can have multiple people in the varsity eight and not really lose any speed. That's a good level for us to get to."
LONGHORN INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, MARCH 22
SATURDAY, MARCH 23
SUNDAY, MARCH 24