When during a 2k race should you make a call for ratio? What characteristics/flaws should tip you off that ratio is the necessary adjustment?
Ratio calls aren’t necessarily something that should be part of your race plan. Like, the way you say “we’re taking a 10 at the 500m, 1000m, and 1250m”, you don’t say “we’re taking a ratio shift at 800m”, if that makes sense. The times when I’ve called a ratio shift during a race are usually somewhere between 750m and 1250m. That’s an easy spot for the rowers to get frantic, especially if they’re being passed, or let the effects of fatigue cause their technique to get sloppy. The third 500 is another spot to watch for this and make that call if necessary.
Ratio shifts are just that – they’re shifts to adjust the ratio back to what it should be (2:1) so you shouldn’t call for one unless you have to. This is why communication with your stroke is important because they can feel when the ratio is off since they’ll be getting thrown up their slide. Sometimes you can see it and/or feel it (it’ll feel very obviously like you’re spinning your wheels) but for the coxswain to feel it it’s got to be bad. My stroke and I have a one-word communication system too for when we need to get it back on track – she says “ratio” and I make the call. Simple as that.
For more on ratio, check out the “ratio” tag.