Music to erg to, pt. 136

Yesterday I posted a few gift ideas for rowers and coxswains that’ll hopefully make finding the right present a little easier, particularly if you’re a last minute shopper. Also check out last week’s post on “getting on the erg“. This is a great way to improve your technical eye during the winter and work on your understanding of how the stroke feels vs. what it looks like.

Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Previously: Coxswains (2012) || Rowers (2012) || Coaches (2012) || Rowers, Coaches, & Coxswains (2013) ||  Rowers & Coxswains (2013)

Still looking for just the right gift for the rowers and coxswains you know? Here’s a few last minute ideas.

Rowing machine patent print // Field Notes Expedition // Starbucks gift card // “The Sphinx of the Charles” // Wireless headphones // Waterproof dry bag

I thought this print of the patent for the original rowing machine was really cool and could be a neat addition to any athlete’s room or coach’s office. (You can also find similar prints over on Etsy.) This set of Field Notes is from their Expedition line and features water and tearproof paper, making it great for coxswains. A regular set of Field Notes could also serve as a great gift for rowers looking for a simple way to keep a training journal. Remember, it’s not a goal if it’s not written down.

I got a Starbucks gift card last year from the crew I coxed at HOCR and after loading it on to the app on my phone it’s since become a must-have travel item for me. Not having to dig my wallet out of my bag when we’re traveling is super convenient and being able to save a little bit of my per diem money is a nice perk. This new book on Harry Parker (by MIT grad Toby Ayer) chronicles the 2008-2009 season and looks pretty cool. I originally heard about it a few years ago when row2k posted an excerpt of it and have been looking forward to checking it out ever since.

Now that our Apple overlords have decided the headphone jack is irrelevant, wireless headphones are going to be an even bigger must-have for rowers than they were before. Amazon has plenty of decently priced pairs too, which is good since these will probably live in your locker or the bottom of your bag and regularly be drenched in sweat. Lastly, this drybag would be great for coxswains who are looking for something small, durable, and most importantly, waterproof to put their stuff in and carry into the boat with them.

Video of the Week: M8+ Final Lucerne 1995

This was another race that Michiel talked about this summer at the Sparks camps. The second 500 wasn’t a good one for the Dutch – they fell down to fifth – but they came back in the second thousand, mainly in the last 500, to finish second behind the Russians. Less than a second separated 2nd through 4th place at the end.

Flashback Friday: November 20th – December 3rd

VOTW: Pete Cipollone podcast

Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Suspension

QOTD: Hi! I’m a junior in high school and I just moved up to the girls varsity team in September. I was on the novice team for fall and spring of my sophomore year and I was in the top boat but now since I moved up to varsity the playing field is a lot more competitive and I am worried about being recruited later this year. I’m also around 5’5 and 140lbs and I wasn’t sure if I should drop to 135 to be considered for “lightweight” considering my height. I was invited for winter training on our team (just finished our first full week) and I feel like I’m already burning out. My family and I are making over a 40 minute commute to get to practice each day, 6 days a week and I just feel like I cannot get, well, my shit together fully. The days are getting shorter and we have practice at 5:45 to 7:45 three days a week and its just a little tough. Mostly I just needed some re-assurance that all this hard work and commuting will be alright and I will get recruited. I was also wondering if its even possible for a 5’5 girl to get into a D1 program in college? I’m also looking at D2 and D3 possibly, but it seems if I want a scholarship D1 is the choice to go. Also I’m taking my SAT’s and ACT’s in about 2-3 weeks and I’m worried that this too late for colleges to see my scores? I heard some girls my age sending them in October for colleges but I think if I send them in December it’s still pretty early…? And should I shoot some coaches an email now about being interested in their team for the fall of 2017 before I even have my SAT scores? Thank you thank you thank you.

QOTD: Just wondering , what do you say to your crew after a training session and they say “Thanks cox”?

College recruiting: How much weight do coaches have with admissions + what to do if there are no spots left

QOTD: Hi! I’ve been rowing for four years and recently I’ve been getting some sort of tendonitis in my forearms: the forearm swells up a little and it feels very stiff and it is very painful to row with. This usually happens when I’m in a single or a double, but it has happened before in an eight and a quad. It has never happened to me so often, last year I got this twice throughout the season, but it went away the same day. I’ve talked to my coach and he said I might be gripping too much with my fingers, I’ve changed my grip since then and it was fine for a few weeks, however over the course of this week, it has come back and I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I know it’s caused when I row long distances and when my forearms tense at the catch, but I don’t think that there is any other way to row (without tensing the forearms at the catch), when I relax my arms I end up pulling more with my fingers. As far as I’m aware, no one else in my crew has this although some say that they have had it before, but very rarely. I was just wondering if you had any tips for correcting my stroke if it is what is causing this? Thank you.

VOTW: There’s only two things you can do…


Coxswain recordings, pt. 9: Abingdon vs. Belmont Hill, great race, great recording. Definitely check it out if you’ve never heard it.

Holiday gifts for rowers and coxswains

QOTD: OK regarding the coxswains working out, I’m a coxswain who typically does abs and stuff on my own at home to stay fit and this season I started doing the ab circuits with the team but I have very strong abs (I used to be a swimmer) so I tend to do all of the stuff correctly without slacking and some of the rowers started giving me dirty looks because it makes them look bad to the coach. What should I do? They feel insulted that I’m doing something better than them. Should I slack a little?

QOTD: We have a coxswain who always covers his microphone with his hand which he thinks gives him this like gruff thing going on, but the problem is we can’t always understand him and quite frankly, it’s annoying. I don’t get why he needs it when we’re not going into the wind but what should we do? Would it be rude to ask if he could please stop or what?


Holiday gifts for coaches

VOTW: Lewis & Clark Men’s Rowing – this is a great video that makes a great point about what we’re training for.

QOTD: What do you see as a good relationship with a coach? Being able to joke/tease? Being able to point out technical problems?

QOTD: Interesting question: How often do you think a cox should talk during a race? I feel really awkward and useless if I stop talking for more than a few seconds, and when I rowed our cox would talk almost constantly during races. However, at a regatta briefing the other day the OU Captain of Coxes implied that coxes should only be talking every few strokes. I guess it depends on the standard and nature of the crew, but what do you think?

QOTD: I’m a guy who almost exclusively coxes women at the moment. However, I rowed for an entire year up to this October and I’m pretty naturally athletic. I still run and cycle pretty quickly. When we do land training, I feel like if I got on an erg and joined in I wouldn’t be helping as I’d be faster than most of them – and your cox being quicker than you would be pretty demoralizing. The only time I’ve joined in was when we did a 5k run and I agreed to be a backmarker and make sure nobody got left behind the pack by encouraging them to keep running and not give up. Do you think I’m right that it would be demoralizing for the girls if I joined in or do you think joining in would have a “leading from the front” aspect which would be beneficial for the squad?

Pro tip: Get on the erg

Previously: Maintaining the set while on the rudder

I’m not talking in a “get a workout in” kind of way, I mean “get on the erg” in a “develop a better understanding of what the stroke feels like” kind of way. My coach had us do this and his reasoning (that I’ve since heard nearly every coach I’ve worked with repeat) was that when we’re communicating something about technique to the crew, we’re primarily doing it based off of what the bladework looks like. Visual cues aren’t what rowers primarily go off of though, they’re operating more off how their body feels.

By getting on the erg or in the tanks and going through the stroke yourself, you can get a better idea of how the body feels throughout the stroke – what muscles are engaged, which ones are stretched, what shouldn’t you be feeling, etc. Having a better visceral understanding of the stroke can help you make more efficient calls and in turn initiate changes faster because instead of telling the crew not to grab at the catch you’ll be able to say “feel the lats engage as we take the catch” or “as the drive starts let’s make sure we’re feeling that engagement with the lats rather than with the shoulders”.

Can you make those type of calls without taking a stroke yourself? Sure … and for a long time you will because you’ll be going off what you hear your coach saying … but at some point when you feel like upping your game and increasing your credibility, you’re gonna look for ways to do that and this should absolutely be one of them. When you hear rowers say they want you to get on the ergs and feel what they feel, that doesn’t mean you’ve gotta go crank out a 10k or do anything “workout” related either. Them seeing you on the ergs learning something and then actively applying that the next time you’re coxing them (regardless of whether that’s during the indoor season or the next time you’re on the water) will earn you just as much street (…water?) cred as if you did a 2k alongside them.