Hi all - I am writing because the ACA officially received your deposit for 2019 OHR.
I wrote some notes below to help you understand how I am planning and so you can anticipate how things will go.
-I will be the team leader and head coach for OHR this year. The competition is in Bratislava, Slovakia September 13-15. Athletes must make deposits by July 24th.
-The team will be traveling on Thursday September 5th and returning September 16th. The team will fly together unless it is your intention to leave earlier to train in Europe(if this is the case I would like you to email me ahead). This is a slightly longer trip than past years, and while I realize this is difficult on school schedules, the reason is that I want to have the best chance to succeed and I believe the best way is to arrive early to acclimatize from travel and train on the race course.
-We will be trying to rent boats from Nelo. In order to succeed, it is crucial that we do our best to have the right size and type of boats for our athletes. As in past years, all athletes will need to be flexible on boats because we get what we get, but I am hopeful that we will get better selection by renting directly.
-We will have 4 coaches present at OHR so that we can provide the best possible service to the athletes.
-Training - I like winning. The recipe to win is straightforward, but hard to do. You must train. From the time you are selected to the team, my expectation is that you put in 10-12 water practices per week and 3-5 gym sessions. You should be working with your club coach on a program to improve. If you need help with this, please ask(we can provide a program, talk with your club coach, or help you and your coach arrange a visit another club to train if necessary). The coaching staff will expect updates on a weekly basis on your training. If this level of training is not what you have in mind, I encourage you to reconsider applying for OHR. You need not be lightning fast already to participate in OHR, but you must be willing to put in the work.
-Studying - champions are necessarily expert level students of their sport. You should endeavor to understand technique in canoe or kayak to the point that you can point out things on video and readily tell a coach what you are focusing on. You ought to be familiar with not only your own times, but also competitive times (A and B final times and winning times) for each event. You should be prepared for homework assigned from the coaching staff.
-Selection to team - the selection criteria will be posted. In short, single, non distance events in the athlete's age group are considered at 2019 Sprint Nationals in Lanier, GA. Points are awarded for finishes, which help guide the process but other factors listed in the document are really important too.
-Entry selection - Some athletes will be in team boats only. Every other country uses some athletes only in team boats. Being an excellent team boat partner is a skill that all athletes should be working on and sometimes its not the top 2 athletes that work well in a K2/C2/K4/C4.
-Team culture - I like to see athletes working with each other as a team to succeed. Last year, I thought that the coaches and athletes did an excellent job of this and there was a general feeling that we were all part of something bigger than ourselves. I left OHR feeling very hopeful for the USA, and my experiences at Frostbite and Sunburn camp, and now the national training camps have cemented this. I expect all athletes to contribute to this culture. Being a coachable, supportive, humble athlete is important.
-Parents - a special note to you - I am acutely aware that a few of the items I mention above(going earlier, renting from Nelo, having 4 coaches) will likely increase the expense of the trip. I want you to know that I respect the money and time you put into your kids as athletes and that for the most part, the sport has survived in the USA on the dime of hard working parents (a situation that I hope will change soon as we build a national program). Having coached the last 2 OHR trips, I understand that it is necessary to balance the aim of giving the USA the best possible chance for success and the very real financial limitations of families. Please know that we will always be looking for ways to cut costs where able.
-Deposits and overall cost- in brief - if you put a deposit down and are not selected to the team - you will be refunded. If you are selected and then decide not to go, you lose your deposit. If you are selected and you decide to go, then that deposit is credited to your bill. I expect the total bill to be between 3,000 and 4,000 dollars, primarily depending on flights.
-Club coaches - a special note to you - thank you so much for considering sending your athlete to OHR. I believe that strong clubs make strong national teams and I am always impressed with the athletes’ character and motivation from around the country. I feel that club coaches and parents are the real unsung heroes of this project. If you have any questions or need anything - please email me at email@example.com
-Assistant Coach positions - Going to OHR as an assistant coach is an excellent opportunity to work with kids from all around the country, get a different take on coaching from other US coaches, meet coaches from other countries, and see how these regattas go down. The learning opportunity is nearly endless. It is my view that taking coaches to OHR is a key strategy for coach development and represents a great opportunity to develop more coaches in the US. There is no pay, but flight/accommodation is paid for. There is an application that will be posted for those interested.
-Volunteer parents - I will be asking two parents to help with random tasks in Europe. Sometimes its finding lead fishing weights, sometimes its helping get food for someone with food allergies. Sometimes its doing emergency laundry or finding toothpaste. It will most assuredly not be glamorous work and there is no compensation of any type and its likely that no one but me will remember your contribution. (I just realized I am not really selling this very well! ) After the team is selected and you are interested, please email me. It is necessary for you to be in Slovakia and it really helps if you have a rental car.
-Last, I would like to thank Aasim Saleh for his work and sacrifice over the last several years as the OHR czar. It is not an easy task, and he is responsible for maintaining and building up to where we are now. I think he is an incredible advocate for paddling and he was one of the people who welcomed me to this sport.
National Canoe Coach
American Canoe Association