Posted by cool_ambo on February 24th, 2014 | 0 comments
The Netherlands Factor
What could be behind these Dutch people winning 24 medals in speed skating, sometimes winning them in a 1-2-3 fashion?
I will say that with regards to this post, as in some of others, it is not gospel. What I mean is that you may believe in the contents or not. This is not guesswork, though, and chances are you will believe in it. But you may also choose not to.
This post will not refer to anything else that was written or said before. In fact the words here come from my unadulterated thoughts. This would be good for you as a reader because by then you can always say that what do I know, anyhow, since nothing and nobody will corroborate these. However, do understand that when I write a seemingly logical thing, I do back it up with logic. And what could be more logical than, ehem, music.(????)
In classical music, there is a type of composition called concerto. This type usually consists of three renditions called Movements. The First Movement is fast in tempo, the Second Movement is slow, and the Third Movement is faster than fast. The performance of the orchestra appear to attract the paying audience to the music, the second Movement appear to showcase the talents of the soloist and may tend to lull the audience to sleep or sit up and drink of the fireworks. The Third Movement is faster enough as if the members of the orchestra are in a hurry to answer the call of the washrooms.
This mode of composition is also applied to speed skating, and also in the whole spectrum of races in which humans participate physically. In fact, the mode of energy consumption by the humans goes like this : sprint, coast, scramble.
At the sound of the starting gun, the racers sprint, then they coast, and they scramble to get to the finish line. This process is not done by choice but by necessity. The human body expends the available energy in the sprint, then calls up more energy on the coast, and then expends the rest of the called up energy on the scramble to the finish line. If there is any deviation from this rule that the racer may choose, he gets a warning from his body in the form of pain, fatigue, and/ or dizziness. To avoid these warnings, the racer, or speed skater, goes into training. What is this training all about, anyway?
Training is to accustom the body to answer the demands for energy automatically and completely. In other words, training raises the bar with which the human body complains of the excessive demands by the skater. you see, the speed of the skater depends upon the availability of energy reserves, the speed with which these reserves are supplied, and the amount of available oxygen for energy conversion. If the body is burning energy at a constant rate, then the lungs and the blood which supply the oxygen will not be stressed too hard and the skater will not be gasping for breath.
All of these processes are accomplished by the human body during the coast and just after the sprint. At this point it is realized that any performance enhancing devices are applied to actually improve the performance of the human body during its coast period. The Dutch skaters, however, train their bodies to use the coast speed and use this speed not as a coasting speed but as a constant speed.
What am I saying now? I am saying that the Dutch does not use the sprint, coast, scramble method. It uses the sprint, sprint,sprint method; only their sprint is slower than an ordinary sprint, but faster than an ordinary coast. The Dutch speed skater starts, and coasts, and scrambles at about the same speed. Therefore the skater gains time at about that period when the rival skater is coasting, This also forces the rival skater to go faster during his coasting time, thereby consuming more energy than what is required for his scramble time.
Warm-ups are merely warm-ups and do not consist of expending energy at about equal to the amount to be spent for the whole race. Warm-ups tell the body to prepare to make available the energy on demand as it was accustomed to during the training stages. Too much time spent during warm-ups may not be good because warm-ups also spend energy.
When I wrote that Sang Hwa Lee beat the Dutch in their own strategy of the sprint, I merely meant that she started and ended the race with a sprint, no coasting. the Dutch trainers may or may not know this, but all they do is train the skaters to skate at a fast but constant speed.
If one observes closely the lap times with which the Dutch skaters finish each and every lap that they race, it will be noticed that the times are almost the same, proving that their speed is constant all throughout the race. I will have to upload a sample lap time snapshots next time. meantime, consider what I just wrote.
Is the diet of the Dutch responsible for their winning performances in speed skating? I say also that the type of diet helps, and is similar to the Jamaicans sprinting fast on the summer Olympics. It helps on the availability of energy on demand by the body, and may not be applicable on long distance races.