Robbie Renwick: Red Sky Blog
On Wednesday 29th January, my coach Graham Wardell and I were invited to a unique behind the scenes preview of the Scotland rugby team in training. I’ve been to couple of their games, so it was great to get an insight into the minds of other top flight athletes.
Our day kicked off at the Heriot Watt University campus where the team was practicing their attacking and defensive plays. It soon became clear that everything the players were doing was being filmed in preparation for review later on. This is definitely something I could transfer into my training day-to-day in order analyse my stroke technique and turns.
With the six nations just around the corner, the days training was focused entirely on the opening match against Ireland. I was fascinated to find that the team analysed in detail all of the plays and tactical maneuvers the Irish team have used in previous matches, and discussed potential counter-plays to stop them.
Clearly there are differences between the sport of swimming and rugby, however it didn’t realize quite how different until I was allowed to sit in on a tactical meeting. When I go up for my race I am focused only on myself, and my lane; it’s about getting the perfect start, pacing myself right and getting the perfect finish. I put years of training into a maximum of 4 minutes of exertion.
In rugby, these guys have to stay physically, and mentally, sharp for 80 minutes! Their environment is changing constantly and they have to adapt in a split second. My performance is defined by stopwatch, whereas theirs is a highly tactical game of moves and counter-moves – it’s a real game of chess!
After the meeting, we went for lunch at Murrayfield and I was able to relax and chat with the players. This was a real privilege and as with most athletes I have come across, myself included, they are incredibly focused on their job. They are a great team and the bond they have is really strong.
Although swimming is often considered an individual sport, when you compete for your country, or even just your home club, you are doing it as part of a team. Myself and all my team mates are doing everything we can in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games to be as prepared, physically and mentally, as possible. There are plenty of things I will take away with me from the day and will apply to my training, in the hope that this summer we can come together as a team and really show the rest of the Commonwealth what we are made of.