Question of the Day

I know I physically can perform the workouts on the erg, but I mentally psych myself out I guess you could say. Do you have any tips on mental toughness/blocking out that annoying voice that wants you to quit on the erg? Thanks!

This is one of those few things that I always have a tricky time answering when my rowers ask me about it because it’s different for every person. I think it’s important to acknowledge that voice and what it’s saying but to then turn around and remind yourself of every reason why that voice is wrong. If it’s telling you that you can’t do something, the best way to shut it up for good is to do exactly what it’s saying you can’t do.

I always get really nervous before we launch so I have a routine where I try to find a quiet spot and just go over everything before things start getting chaotic. I run through things our coach has said during practice, remind myself of the work we’ve done so far, how we’re stronger, more technically sound, etc. than we were the week before, and that most importantly, I have a plan. Having a strategic approach to things always helps me because I know that I’ll never be worried about being unprepared. When you do your erg pieces, approach them with a plan. Know when you’re going to make a power move, know what stroke rates you’re going to be at during the start, body, and finish, know when you’re going to sprint, etc.. Having a plan that you can follow gives you mental checkpoints that you can tick off after you get through each one.

Right before we begin our final build to the sprint and right around the point where their brains are telling their bodies to quit, I usually try to remind my crews that we’ve made it this far and we’re gonna keep pushing for more. Your body is capable of a lot more than you think it i, so you’ve got to ignore what the voice says and push yourself past the point where you would otherwise quit. The only way you’re getting off that erg or out of the boat is if you finish the piece. Until that meter count says zero, your ass stays firmly planted on that seat.

The only way to block out that voice completely is to just ignore it. The wall you’re hitting when it’s telling you to quit … don’t hit it, knock it down and keep going. Remind yourself that you didn’t sweat it out during workouts just to feel what it feels like to sweat. You did it for the purpose of getting better. If you quit you’re not getting better. PUSH your body, PUSH your limits, and PUSH yourself. That’s the only way that voice will go from saying “you can’t do this” to “fuck yea, we got this”.

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