Flashback Friday: April 9th – 22nd

ONE YEAR AGO
VOTW: Technology + Rowing

Coxswain skills: Working with a bad coach

QOTD: Hi!! So what should you do if you think a teammate doesn’t like you? All I’ve been getting is bad vibes, and whenever I try to be nice and talkative she just like doesn’t even listen. I really don’t wanna start something, but all I have been is nice to her! I can deal if she doesn’t like me, but man I don’t want that to affect the boat you know? And it hasn’t except for sorta today maybe? Not exactly sure but just wanted tips on how to deal/work your way around if someone may not like you for no reason at all. I might be viewed as competition but I have NEVER said anything hateful, rude, or bad to her at all. I keep my mouth shut at the right times and I am a very laughable, comfortable, relaxed person to talk too. In the conversations we have had (only a few), she’s barely said anything and I just end up not getting an answer. And she gives off really, really dirty looks to me. She seems like thats her face, but she likes some other girls on the team real well so I’m not sure … I don’t wanna push it because I got bigger, better problems to attend too but just kinda putting this out there.

Race skills: Race warmups

Pro tip: Maintaining the set when you’re on the rudder

TWO YEARS AGO
Seat racing coxswains

Reverse pick drill progression + what “bob drills” look like

VOTW: Inside the minds of champion athletes

How to: Scull your bow around

Words.

THREE YEARS AGO
Words.

Coxswain recordings, pt. 11

QOTD: Hey! Lately, I haven’t been getting boated much during practices and have only been boated for one race. Some of our assistant coaches have claimed that I’m better than the other coxswain and that it’s become more of a matter of favorites. Any tips on how I can show the head coaches that I want to be boated for races, especially with one more race plus Pac-12s coming up? I don’t know what else to do other than prove myself each time I’m on the water (which isn’t often) and going over recordings with our coach once I’m back on the water.

FOUR YEARS AGO
QOTD: How does a cox/rower know when/if it’s time to quit crew? Especially as a collegiate walk on. I want to make it the four years, but…

QOTD: I’m a collegiate rower. I have excellent technique except for one thing – I don’t catch quickly enough. I am in time with the rest of the boat, but it’s the issue of going straight to the water and burying my blade completely before driving with my legs. Most of our boat has this issue. I’ve tried asking coaches how to remedy my issue, but they haven’t given me anything very effective yet. Do you have any advice? Please and thank you! I appreciate it.

What to wear: Coxing in the rain

QOTD: I honestly have no idea how to know how many strokes until we finish a race, piece, etc. Like, do I just guess?

QOTD: I keep overly saying “sorry” in the boat, even when I don’t need to. Any tips on how to stop?

Question of the Day

Hi! Do you have any suggestions for what my boat can do about our struggles coming out of a start? We’ll usually do a start 6 and a high 20/25, but when we need to lengthen out to get to  race pace (because we can’t hold a 42 SR for the whole 2000m) we seem to lose a lot of energy and ground on other boats. What can we do to come out of a start more smoothly? My boat is fairly strong and it’s not that we’re dropping from a 1:35 to a 1:50 because we can’t hold a lower split, but we just don’t know how to lengthen out/get a ratio shift that’s more smooth and even. Calling a lengthen 10 doesn’t help. Thanks!

Unless the ratio is actually that out of whack off the start, a ratio shift is the wrong approach.

Related: How do you call a ratio shift to control and stop the rush without lowering the SR? Is it even possible?

Have you tried doing a sub-settle and then settling again to your base pace? This has always worked well for my boats (both coxing and coaching) when we’ve had similar issues. If we’re starting high (in the 40s) and trying to get to a 34-35, more often times than not it’d feel like we were putting the brakes on in order to hit the 34, causing us to lose ground and momentum, rather than just gradually lengthening out to it while still maintaining the power we had in the high strokes. Once we tried doing a sub-shift to a 38ish and then 5-7 strokes later shifting again to base, that seemed to alleviate a lot of the issues.

Related: The Language of the First 500

Even before we started incorporating the sub-shifts, we’d spend a lot of time on the transition during practice, not just on the strokes themselves but on the calls too. For me the focus was always on the last three strokes of the high strokes and the first stroke out of the shift, just making sure my calls were clear and on point so that first stroke was smooth but still deliberate and powerful. If I was sloppy here I could feel the drop in energy over the next few strokes. Another point of emphasis was on staying loose – if you’re tense then you’re not going to be able to flow in sync with the boat, which was one of the things that contributed to that “hitting the brakes” feeling for my crews.

Related: Getting off the line with world class speed

Talk with your coach and try to make this a point of practice each week. One of my coaches always had us do starts at the end of practice when we were tired and more likely to row with not-the-greatest technique, which actually helped a lot because it made us focus more on staying loose and taking clean strokes. I think making that snap transition between fatigued from AT pieces to clear-headed and calm before doing a start also helped us manage our adrenaline better during races, which played into that shift down to base pace being smoother and less frantic.

Music to erg to, pt. 145

Heading up to Yale with the lights and heavies today so keep an eye on YouTube this weekend for videos of the races.

Speaking of fast teams, check out yesterday’s post on the three things all fast crews have in common. I also posted a quick video last week on making mistakes,  overcoming them, and why getting called out (or calling yourself out) isn’t a bad thing. Definitely a good thing for all of us to keep in mind but it’s especially important this time of year for novices to remember – you’re probably gonna screw something up during a race and that’s OK. Acknowledge it, learn from it, and move on.

“All fast crews have three things in common…”

If you’ve been to Northeast Rowing Center and had Coach Lindberg (BU heavyweight men’s assistant) as your coach, then you’ll remember him asking his boats if they can list the three things that all fast crews have in common. Do you know what they are?

Blades go in before the drive begins

While the feet are still light (aka there’s no pressure being applied to the stretchers), the blade touches the water and gets heavy. This has to happen before the wheels change direction.

Hang your bodyweight off the handle all the way through the drive

From catch to finish, suspension is the key to prying and accelerating. You can read more about it in the “Top 20 terms” post linked below.

Related: Top 20 terms coxswains should know: Suspension

Spacing at the back end

Every coach coaches the finish a little differently but regardless of whether you keep the hands moving around the finish or do that weird pause-y thing, the hands and elbows have to be out and away before the body rocks over.

This stuff is so simple you’ll probably read it and think “…duh” but if your crew is trying to gain more speed or figure out what’s holding them back, don’t default to just thinking about pulling harder – go back to the basics and ensure you’re doing all three of these things first. You can make calls for this stuff for at any point during practice too – it all falls under the umbrella of “just one (or three) of those things” that you should always be looking for, correcting, and perfecting.