Question of the Day

Calls to control rush? There’s only so many ways to say “control the recovery” and “slow the slides.” Thanks!! πŸ™‚

I’m a big fan of “patience”, “looong“, “relax”, “feel the recovery”, etc. When we’re paddling I’ll usually say something like “Guys, there’s not a lot of slide control right now and it’s causing us to [do X and Y]. We need to focus a bit more on [doing A and B] and [staying patient] on the recovery as we come into the catch.” Usually whatever call I plan on using (usually one of the ones I said at the beginning) I’ll say where it says [staying patient], that way they hear me saying it and understand what I’m referencing vs. me just randomly saying “patience!” during a piece with zero context whatsoever.

From there I’ll combine that call with whatever “A” and “B” was and get a more combined call that addresses all the issues instead of just part of the problem, if that makes sense. So, if the lack of slide control was causing a few people to row it in because they weren’t giving themselves enough time to get the bodies set, I’d say something about body prep, control coming up, and locking on for probably two or three strokes to help them get the rhythm and ratio back. Starting at the release and as the hands come away, “pivot”, as they start the roll, “patience”, as they lift the hands into the catch, “lock”, and then finish it out with a powerful “send” before repeating that again for another stroke or two. “Pivot, paaatience, lock, send“.

Obviously this is a little easier to do at steady state rates (18-22ish, maaaybe up to 24) and less so at the higher rates but if you can work calls like this into your warmups, steady state pieces, etc. (both when there is and isn’t a rush problem, just to reinforce the message) then if you experience rush at the higher rates you can simplify the call to something that won’t take as much time to say, like “patience, send” or whatever. As long as you’re consistent with the terminology you use, breaking it down into a shorter call like this can/will still get the message across because they’ll be able to reference the longer call you made before. Sometimes at higher rates when I do this (during practices, not so much races…) I’ll say “Starting to feel a little rushed, let’s get that rhythm back we had the other day. Pivot here…pivot here. Now relaaax into the catch, loose in the legs, LOCK send…LOCK send…“. It’s spread out over the course of 3-4ish strokes (I try not go more than five, max) and that one long call is broken down into two shorter ones.

Does that make sense? Basically what I’m getting at is that it’s easier to maintain a rhythm with how you should be saying the first call at lower rates than it is at higher rates. If you try to say “pivot, patience, lock, send” right now it’s going to sound more controlled when you say it slowly, which is what you want if you’re trying to get the rowers to exert more control on the slides. Trying to say all of that in the space of however much time a stroke at 30spm takes (…I guess that’d be about two seconds, wouldn’t it…) is a little harder because you won’t have as much control and rhythm in your voice because you’re trying to get out a lot of words in a really short period of time, which in turn is going to negate, in a sense, what you’re trying to communicate to the rowers about being more patient and relaxed. So, at the end of the second paragraph, even though I’m saying more words than I was before, the actual calls that I’m making are shorter so that I can still say them with the proper inflection and rhythm.

Hopefully that wasn’t too convoluted and you can kinda see what I’m getting at. It’d probably make a lot more sense to hear me say it than to read it so whenever I’m out next I’ll try to record myself so you can hear what I mean. Also, check out the posts inΒ the “rush” tag, you might some ideas for what to say in there too.

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