If I had to make a list of the things coxswains do that really grind my gears, misusing these two calls would easily be in the top three.
This, as we all know, is the most basic call in your arsenal – it means “stop”. Anytime you want to stop rowing (or walking, if you’re on land), this is what you say. In a game of “Red Light, Green Light”, this is the red light.
Let it run
In “Red Light, Green Light”, this is the yellow light. It’s pretty much the “rolling stop” of rowing. “Let it run” also means stop but it does not mean “stop now” like weigh enough does. They are not the same call and they should not be used interchangeably. “Let it run” is what you use when you want the boat to purposely run out after you’ve finished rowing. When you make this call you’d say “let it run in two … one, two…” and the rowers would stop in the finish position with their hands away (exactly like a hands away pause) and the blades up off the water.
This isn’t a call you should make if you’re paddling or not rowing very hard either because you’re unlikely to get the run out of it that would necessitate making this call in the first place. If you’re doing steady state or starts, those two instances are the only two that come to mind when “let it run” could be a good alternative to “weigh enough”.
The video below shows what it should look like after you make the call for the boat to let it run. This was from our first day of training for nationals – the girls did a 1/2 pressure start then let it run out for a few seconds before the coxswain called for “blades down”.
Let it run is also a great “drill” to practice your balance with. The better your balance and more stable your handle heights are, the more run you’re going to be able to get. Another fun thing to do is take 10 or so really hard strokes and then let it run to see how much run the boat can get. I love doing this, especially with other crews just to see who can keep it set the longest and who can get the most run.
The most inappropriate time to use this call is when you’re on land and telling your crew to stop walking. From now on I think I’m going to take our coxswain’s suggestion from when we were at nationals and start telling the crews I coach that they should just start jogging away or something whenever the coxswain says “let it run” on land. One of the refs down by the docks overheard us talking about it and said that he’d told a couple of them that that wasn’t the correct terminology so hopefully after having someone point it out fewer people will make that mistake.
If you want to make a really simple, effortless correction this summer, start using “let it run” in the appropriate situations and stop using it when you should be using “weigh enough” instead. They are two different calls with two different purposes!
Related: I was wondering what the difference is between checking it and holding water. I think checking it is just once side and everybody holds water? But I’m not sure. and then also what do you think is the easiest way to turn around? I usually have my stern or bow four row with ports backing. Is that pretty standard would you say? Thank you again so so so so so much.
Two other calls that often come up in similar conversations is “hold water” and “check it down”, which I talked about in the post linked above from waaay back in October 2012. Although they both mean essentially the same thing and can be used interchangeably if you want, I tend to treat them as separate calls to be used in one of two different situations (both of which you can read about in that post).