Question of the Day

Hey! So last year I didn’t make a varsity boat though my ergs scores are very good, my technique was very bad. We just had our first day of practice of the season today, and I have another season and summer training under my belt now though, so I was hoping things would go better. But I seem to be having a lot of technique problems again. When your erg scores are bad, you just pull harder (though I’m worried I can’t repeat my erg scores from last season), but fixing technique isn’t concrete so it’s a lot harder to learn for me since I don’t really have a good sense of hand eye coordination and the smaller details of the stroke just seem so much for difficult for me than others. I mean, a lot the brand new freshmen yesterday already seemed better than me!!

Fixing technique issues can be really tricky because once you’ve developed a bad habit it takes twice as long (or longer) to break it. I was having a similar conversation with someone at practice today and what I told them was that it requires a frustrating level of concentration on your part because you’ve got to think about what each part of the stroke is supposed to look like and then consciously think about what your body currently looks/feels like in comparison. (If you’ve got some video of yourself rowing you can compare it to videos like the ones linked belowΒ too.) It helps if you can have a coach or experienced rower/coxswain sit with you for a bit before or after practice while you erg to give you some feedback on what you need to work on but at the end of the day it all comes back to you being willing to self-critique and force yourself to make the necessary changes.

Related: Technique: Good and bad technique on the erg

If you know you’ve got specific issues that are really apparent when you’re on the water, talk to your coach/coxswain about that and have them watch you/your blade for a few minutes so you can get some direct feedback from them after practice on what you need to work on. Coxswains can usually tell a lot about your body just based on what your blade is doing so ask her what she’s seeing while you do your warmup or are rowing steady state. Work with her too and let her know that it’d be really helpful for you if she could work in a couple calls that relate to what you’re doing, even if it’s a just a simple reminder like “hands up at the catch”, “sit tall”, etc.

Comparing yourself to the freshmen isn’t going to do anything for you. Who cares if they pick it up quickly or not? Focus on yourself. You’ll be a lot more satisfied at the end of the season when you realize you focused your energy on the right things (like training) instead of on something dumb like worrying about other people being better than you.

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