Question of the Day

Why would a coach put novices with varsity rowers in a boat for training? What benefits would that get the novices, and wouldn’t that be very frustrating for varsity rowers? I’m not one of those novices and I really wish I was but I don’t really know in what parts of my rowing it would help, if you know what I mean.

To an extent it’ll probably be a little annoying for the varsity boat but I think most coaches would expect them to be technically proficient and mature enough to deal with it. If they want the novices to succeed they’ve got to be willing to deal with the difference in boat feel for a practice and help the younger rowers get better.

There are a lot of benefits for the novices. Feeling what a consistent stroke rate feels like (number one, in my opinion), getting an idea for what each pressure level really feels like, getting a better sense of how to adjust the hands to fix the set, etc. are some examples. On a secondary level, I think it helps them psychologically. Being in a varsity boat, especially a good varsity boat full of good athletes and strong team leaders, I feel like that would motivate them to sit up a little taller, lift their chins a little higher, keep their cores a little tighter, and perform just a little bit better. I would make the argument that even if they didn’t make any technical improvements during the row, if they became more confident in themselves or motivated to improve, the outing was a success.

Related: OK so I’m not one of the top coxswains on my team but sometimes my coach likes to put lower level coxswains in the varsity boat so that they can experience good rowing except I find that a lot of the girls in the varsity boat are so used to good coxing that they get annoyed with me. Sometimes they like, swear at me and tell met to do things (not even advice, but just like “can you PLEASE FUCKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SET”). What do I do when I’m trying my best and calling set and this happens???

The only time this really ever backfires is when the inexperienced rowers use it as a crutch to lean on and then when they get back into their regular boat boat no one knows how to fix whatever issues there are because they’ve relied on the varsity rowers to sort it out. This isn’t super common though and when I’ve experienced it, it’s been with rowers who were never that committed in the first place.

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