Well, Well, Well! Look what time of the year it is already! That time of the year when we.....oh, I don’t know....GET BACK ON THE WATER! Man, didn’t it seem like a long winter?! I thought this time would never come, but here we are! Transitioning back to the water can be both an exciting and frustrating time at first. So I am here to give you a couple tips to make the transition as smooth as possible! LET’S GET TO ROWING!
If you get back in a boat and say to yourself, “Wait, it’s been a while. I think I forgot how to row.” Don’t be alarmed! Obviously you don’t mean it, but erging and rowing are obviously two different things. There are many more factors that go into rowing well, such as weather, technical ability, and water conditions. If you get out on the water for the first day of spring, and your boat is not perfectly set, STAY PATIENT! It is going to take some time to get the feeling of the water back, and get used to your teammates dynamics again. It is going to take a team effort to get everyone on the same page again, athletes and coaches included. Trust the process, and have fun.
“Coach, it’s spring! This is sprint season! Why are we doing long steady state workouts on the water?! We need to be doing sprint work!”
This is always a question that makes a coach laugh. Why yes, it is sprint season. And yes, it is just as important to get drilling and steady state in as it was in the fall when we were training for longer pieces. Fun fact, a 2k is 20% Anaerobic, an 80% Aerobic. the beginning and end of a race is very anaerobically demanding, relying heavily on powerful, concise and decisive strokes. However the middle of the race is very much aerobically demanding, which requires a solid aerobic base. How do we train for this? You guessed it! By executing long, steady state workouts and workouts that challenge and train the aerobic base.
“Okay, okay. That makes sense I guess. But coach, why do we have to do so much drilling? Can’t we just get out on the water and row? Drilling is so boring and tedious!”
Ah yes, another age old question from a rower to a coach. Well, the answer is simple. Technique allows the boat to move efficiently. A proper understanding of the recovery and drive, catch and finish, and everything in-between are going to set crews apart come spring. During a 2,000 meter race, the margin for error is very slim. During the race, your catches need to be quick and crisp, with all rowers locking on and leveraging their blades through as much water as possible. The recoveries need to be controlled, allowing the boat to move to maximum efficiency, and the drives need to be powerful and consistent, which is key to moving past that crew you’re neck and neck with in the third 500. Every drill your coach gives you has a purpose! It isn’t time to take a break, or “relax” during a long row. It’s time used to regroup, gather everyone on the same page, and to gain a better understanding of different technical aspects.
Now more than ever, attending practice consistently and arriving on time are going to be imperative to improvement and success. A crew has nine members, which means everyone needs to be on the same page. When everyone gets to the boathouse on time and attends practice everyday, it allows the team to grow and the crew to develop together. Everyday a rower shows up late or doesn’t attend practice, it hinders the crew's ability to improve and get faster. Manage your time, and get to practice!
It is going to be important that when you get on the water at first, you stay patient and trust the process. You are most likely not going to be doing sprint workouts in the first couple of weeks you are on the water. And, as fun as sprint workouts can be, it is super important to focus on drilling to improve technique, and execute longer workouts in order to build your aerobic base! It is going to pay off come racing season when you are able to hold you own in the third 500, and sprint your way past a crew with solid catches! Let’s get back on the water, and let’s get back to rowing!
Head Masters Coach & Varsity Youth Assistant Coach