Russian kayak paddling teams’ pre-Olympic trainings systems: history and progress staging analysis

PhD, Associate Professor G.V. Zarodnyuk1
A.I. Kovalenko1
Dr.Hab., Professor V.I. Grigoryev2
1St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg State University of Economics, St. Petersburg

Keywords: additive technologies, innovations, competitiveness, synergy, genesis, transparency, project management.

Background.The efforts to cope with the crisis in the Russian kayak paddling since 2000s need to be governed by a comprehensive analysis of the theoretical and practical framework for the Olympic training systems. It is clear at this juncture that the fast progress in the global training technologies urges the rapidly aging traditional training systems being revised on a sound theoretical and practical basis [2].

Analysis of the national kayak paddling team competitiveness in the past Olympic Games in the context of the training system reform gives a special priority to the progress incentives. In view of the modern practical training systems giving preference to the wavelike progress management tolls as found by the prior analyses, the national team competitiveness is recommended to be improved by a polycentric training models with efficient performance mobilizing technologies. Progress in the new system design and implementation project is optimistically expected to help overcome the national crisis in the sport discipline.

Objective of the study was to develop a practical project method to improve the Olympic training systems applied by the Russian kayak paddling elite.

Results and discussion. Analysis of the national theoretical and practical reports shows, that the new wave of the training process research and design technologies in 1950-70s was leaded on the national turf by the G. Krasnopevtsev’s training system; with fundamentals for the practical trainings for the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki laid by the competitive process physiology studies by V. Gorinevskaya, 1928; S. Romanov, 1931; V. Ostroukhova, 1940; M. Gorkin, 1947; P. Rodionov, 1952. Their ideas provided a sound basis for the 4.5-month Olympic training system designed by G. Krasnopevtsev, N. Savin and N. Smirnov with its interim mobilization process goals to secure the top fitness for the Olympic starts [4].

Training system for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne was designed with the ambitious goal to win a global leadership by new training technologies with a special emphasis on the work muscle group dynamometry (G. Krasnopevtsev, 1953) versus blood biochemistry tests (N. Yakovlev, 1954), with the test data timely analyzed and used to design the individual tactics with the interval speed control schemes limited only by the individual ‘speed stocks’ (G. Losavio, 1956). One of the key priorities for the training system was to secure combinations of the key performance elements in the training project to effectively adapt to the training workloads and improve the speed-strength endurance and paddling power rates. Success of the new ‘advanced resource conversion’ training model was proved by 3 medals won in competitions of 113 elite paddlers (including 10 women) at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

The practical training process provisions and guidelines for the 1960-70 Olympics were designed in the context of the system revision geared to modernize the outdated system elements and set new training goals and priorities. Thus the trainings were designed to take into account the practical limitations for the individual training scopes and reasonably diversify the all-round conditioning and special training elements (G. Krasnopevtsev, 1960). The elite paddlers’ training scopes were managed within 3.5-4.0 thousand km per year (800-850 hours) with the performance building algorithms and progress test elements.

Practical training project for the 1960 Olympics in Rome was designed on an even more technology-intensive and diversified basis, with an objective to improve the competitive speed and pace by at least 3-5% by the progress staging and correcting methods to attain cumulative training effects in every cycle of the combined training process. The training project efficiency was verified by the national Olympic team winning 2 gold medals in competitions of 173 elite paddlers (including 28 women).

Practical training project for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo gave a special priority to the prudent training workload management method driven by the sport mastery mobilization strategy, with a special role played by the speed-strength training ‘tracks’ (S. Klevak, 1963). The trainings were basically designed to combine the distance/ interval/ repeated training modules to improve the controlled-speed paddling power. Since 1960s the training process was increasingly computerized, with the digital technologies initially used predominantly for the competitive performance forecasts. Practical benefits of the Olympic training project were proved by 2 gold medals won in the 1964 Olympic events.

Practical training system for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico was largely shaped up by the new wave of innovation technologies and growing competitiveness. The system included the year-round water trainings, prudent combinations of the all-round and specific training tools and the competitive practice expansion elements established on a sound health testing and sport biology research basis.

Training project for the 1972 Olympics in Munich was designed by G. Krasnopevtsev’s research team with due respect to the-then popular European training models to secure the training process being systemic and the institutional resource being effectively capitalized. Changes to the traditional training system were designed to secure the wavelike pattern of the fitness building process, with the national team training scope varying within 4.5-5,0 thousand km (900-950 hours) [per year] and complemented by special ‘additive’ technologies. Performance reserve growth was secured by the following ‘cascade of attractors’: (1) contrast training micro-cycles (D. Arosyev, 1969); (2) two training sessions [per day]; (3) multipurpose design of the precompetitive training process (А. Silayev, 1971; V. Gavrilov, 1972); and (4) the aerobic capacity building by altitude trainings and special training simulators designed by V. Brodov (1971).

Training project for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal was driven by the new ideas of the combined training process design, with the training policies and practices based on the training tools diversification ideology (V. Ryzhov 1973; P. Poburny, 1975); weighted paddling technology; hypoxic trainings; and the increased anaerobic workloads. As analyzed by K. Shubin, the innovative ideas helped scale down the training system disharmony and heavily contributed to the training project success [6] as verified by 5 medals won in the Olympic competitions of 246 elite paddlers (including 38 women).

Training technologies for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were designed to secure a ‘cascade progress’ of the sport mastery, with the training project setting the [annual] training scope at 5.5-6.0 thousand km (1000-1200 hours) complemented by an intense series of competitions. A special emphasis was made on the trainings assisted by ergometric training stimulators of the V. Boyko’s design (1977) to increase the VO2max and develop and maintain the maximal special strength endurance for success. The paddling crews were formed using the selection criteria {‘descriptors’] offered by Y. Dolnik (1978), with the strength adaptability building tools securing the top special strength standards for the target competitions (V. Afanasyev, 1979). The training project was successful as verified by 5 medals won in the Olympic competitions of 204 elite paddlers (including 39 women).

Trainings for the Friendship-84 Regatta (1984) in Berlin were governed by the project design logics to effectively convert the modern project management policies into practical results. The training system offered the varied-intensity combined training tools to secure success with contributions from the new additive technologies and facilitate the adaptability growths by extreme-intensity trainings. The paddlers’ training system was made more effective and efficient in the technological domain based on findings by V. Kononov (1982) and V. Barkova (1984) with a valuable contribution from M. Tinteris (1982) who offered a ‘synthesized’ training model with ‘controlled heterogeneity’ of the training process. The national team leadership, as provided by A. Silayev, was secured by the excellent performance control with the individual best performance standards attained by the target competitive period [5]. The training model efficiency was proved by 4 medals won in Berlin.

In the late 1980s to early 1990s, V. Issurin came up with a new modular training system with the training tools grouped into special modules, each geared to improve some specific competitive qualities. The new method took full benefits of the research, design and experimental developments with application of special ‘kinetic training’ machines to build up special strength (I. Sharobayko, 1984, K. Shubin, 1985), startup paddling power (S. Pylayev, 1988) and endurance on distance (V. Timofeyev, 1989), with support from the-then modern strain gauge and dynamometric test methods to efficiently customize the training process (G. Razumov, 1989) on the whole and individualize the precompetitive training cycles in particular (S. Veselkov, 1989). The project was unique in terms of the applied new technologies including the digital dynamometric tests and the training resource synergizing design. The ‘cascade effects of the innovative wave’, as provided by V. Kaverin, were consistent with the global trends to ensure high efficiency and focused effects of the training process [3].

The competitive performance forecasts prior to the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona were largely pessimistic enough if not alarmist due to the general decline of the Soviet sport system in the economic recession period, with the analysts particularly concerned by the poor contributions of the modern digital progress test technologies and additive technologies. Inconsistent enthusiastic efforts to implement new training technologies including the vibration training machines (S. Cooks, 1990); anaerobic capacity building technology (D. Zemlyakov, 1991); hypoxic training tools (A. Bakanychev, 1996) and the special endurance training method (I. Verlina, 1997) – remained largely unimplemented and unpopular in fact. The national team competitiveness was seriously undermined at that time by the catch-up policies and technological backlogs. The national paddling sport was lagging behind the world leaders at that time due to the failures in the sport advancement and technological progress policies and practices.

The third wave of the practical research technologies and developments (since 2000 till now) has taken benefits of the external progress facilitating factors varying from the new technological platforms to digital project management tools (e.g. S. Verlin’s method) to offer an integrated modern pre-Olympic training system highly balanced and harmonized in the design, material, informational and human resourcing domains. The traditional conservative training model has been challenged by the new training project with the large-scale digitalization, performance mobilization and progress test technologies with their timely updated test databases – to prevent any stagnation and negative processes in the training system. 

Practical training system for the 2012 Olympics in London made an emphasis on the modern progress test and controls and multilevel training process management tools to improve the team competitiveness and competitive stress tolerance [1]. The new training project may be considered a conceptual breakthrough in the training methods with its emphasis on the new training methods centered on the adaptability building and replication and synergy securing tools. The project appears well grounded in the theoretical domain albeit still needs to be verified by the practical competitive accomplishments and regained Olympic leadership.

Conclusion. The pre-Olympic training system history and progress analysis demonstrates that the training systems have always been highly sensitive to the progress in the research and training technologies. The new ongoing training project is centered on the advanced progress goals to secure the national team competitiveness by the institutional resource being mobilized and capitalized to effectively harmonize and integrate the training process for success.


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The study was designed to analyze the theoretical and historical progress stages in the Russian kayak paddling teams’ pre-Olympic trainings systems of the 1950-70s, 1980-90s and 2000-2018s, to identify the key progress technologies and assess the research and training projects.

The new wave of the training process research and design technologies in 1950-70s leaded by the G. Krasnopevtsev training system was intended to secure high competitive accomplishments of the national team at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, 1960 Olympics in Rome, 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, 1968 Olympics in Mexico, 1972 Olympics in Munich and the 1976 Olympics in Montreal by improvements in the adaptability resource, and special controlled-intensity paddling practices in the precompetitive periods.

In the 1980-90s, the pre-Olympic trainings gave a special priority to the next-stage research and design developments to reasonably intensify and make more efficient the trainings for the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, 1984 Olympics in Berlin, 1988 Olympics in Seoul, 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The research and training projects were intended to further concentrate the resources, improve the project management efficiency and spur up the success motivations by ‘interval modular’ crossover training technologies by V. Issurin.

The third wave of the practical research technologies and developments (since 2000 till now) has taken benefits of the external progress facilitating factors varying from the new technological platforms to digital project management tools (e.g. S. Verlin’s method) to offer an integrated modern pre-Olympic training system highly balanced and harmonized in the design, material, informational and human resourcing domains. The new system was applied and perfected in the precompetitive trainings for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, 2004 Olympics in Athens, 2008 Olympics in Beijing, 2012 Olympics in London and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The pre-Olympic training system history and progress analysis demonstrates that the training systems have always been highly sensitive to the progress in the research and training technologies.