Question of the Day

Do you think it’s better for novices to learn how to row primarily one one side rather than switching between port and starboard or do you think it’s good to be frequently switched? I was constantly switched as a novice and now I feel like I really struggle with technique and I was wondering if that could possibly have anything to do with it.

I think the side you’re on is a combination of a few things, one of those being what’s comfortable for you, so while I definitely think that novices should be introduced to both sides eventually they should start prioritizing one over the other. Sometimes you get on starboard and you’re just like “what is this…” because nothing feels right, but when you get on port, everything clicks. You might not be as strong on the other side but the fact that you have some proficiency can really help your coaches out if they’re short on rowers.

Related: As a coach, do you expect your rowers to be able to row both sides in a sweep boat? Should every rower be flexible or is it ok to limit yourself to 1 side only? I ask because we have 7 wks until WEHORR & after rowing for 2.5yrs exclusively on stroke side, my coach has asked me to switch sides & potentially row in 7 seat at WEHORR. I feel like it has huge potential to fail, particularly as it means my injured shoulder will be my outside shoulder on bowside … what should I do? Should I persevere?

What specifically about technique do you struggle with? If you know what it is, go talk to your coach. Tell him that you’re struggling with these things and what are his suggestions for making some technical improvements? Can you possibly spend some time during practice on drills that target your specific concerns? Definitely don’t keep stuff like this to yourself. Having information like this is really helpful for coaches because it lets us know what we need to work on and allows us to point out specific things to be adjusted instead of assuming everything is fine and going out and doing steady state or something.

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