Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How to train for Freestyle

For the last 4 weeks the awesome Dennis Newton has been living and training with me and Jez in Sydney and New Zealand. Dens arrival in early Jan kicked off this years training in style as he set me up with a plan aimed to get me ready for this years worlds. Not only that the goal was for Den and Jez to also train ready for their own selection events and the forthcoming season. Within hours off arriving Den had us rolling around the lounge floor. Chatting through moves, techniques and key components Den preloaded us with information, and troubleshot our existing techniques, getting us ready for when we hit the wave.

Running through movements and techniques prior to paddling

Now Australia isn't known for its freestyle but it doesn't happen to have a little gem of a wave known as 'Mini Garb' (formally known as fryer). Mini Garb is a fab little wave situated at the bottom of the Penrith whitewater course. It is fast and steep and has many dynamics and components of the 2015 World Championship feature Garb wave on the Ottawa river, Canada. The only main differences being that mini garb is a little smaller and a lot shallower so you really have to learn it and work it to earn your big tricks and air not giving you the insane height and power naturally that you get from Garb. 

Claire O making the most of the waves energy

Jez ripping up Mini Garb

Den getting some seriously big air

Jez loading up a big back Pan Am

Training kicked off at Mini Garb and then moved overseas to the Hawea waves where we caught up with the Kiwi boating crew and Anna Bruno from the USA. In NZ the waves were slower and deeper so it gave us a chance to real look at and further break down the different moves. Again we would run through drills and chat over techniques off the water before testing them out on the waves, Using a video we could analyse our progress each evenin setting goals and plans for each day. Within no time we were making big progress. Improving and hitting new moves and beginning to link and sequence them together during rides.

Todays move goal sheet - Pistol Flips

Its important not to take it all too seriously

Claire O working on her Clean Blunts

Max watches on as Den demonstrates a move

One of the main moves we focused on during the week was Airscrews and we had a fun session practising them in the lounge, on a trampoline and on the beds as well as the wave. Using the bounce of the mattresses and trampolines and filming each go. We could imitate the movements, compare techniques and see the body movements which are often hidden in the boat.

Practising the movements in the eddy

Video analysis comparisons of the water

To keep our body and mind fresh we mixed up training with a range of other sports. Aimed as 'active rest' we made sure the activities weren't too high in intensity and didn't involve being in a boat. A mixture of biking, sailing, surfing,and yoga helped us keep busy in between surfs.

Showing Den the Sydney Harbour Bridge in style

The  boys enjoying the views and sunshine

Riding the trails around Manly Dam

Bruno squirt boating in our pool

Hitting the surf at Bondi

Mid Airscrew GoPro head cam shot in the Ocean

Planning for the year whilst taking in the views of the Blue Mountains

Before we knew it the month had flown by and it was time for Den to go back to the UK. In two weeks time he will be competing along with the rest of the UKs top boaters for a place on the GB Freestyle Team on at the Lee Valley London Olympic white water course and Hurley Weir.

So with Den gone I now have four weeks in Australia to work on tweaking what i've learnt and focus on my fitness, nutrition and flexibility before I next meet up with Den in March in Uganda for the 'World of Champions', our ASP freestyle training camp number 2.

Next stop Uganda for the World of Champions Training Camp

Top tips for training for freestyle
  1. Get yourself on the best features that you can.
  2. Set yourself goals for each session
  3. Break down the moves and practice them on and off the water
  4. Use video to help you track your progress and analyse your rides
  5. Get advice and help from a coach
  6. Mix it up with other fun activities
  7. Smile and enjoy every single surf