Question of the Day

Hi Kayleigh! Obviously rowers need to adjust their foot stretchers, spacers, shoe height, etc. but I never know when the right time to let them do that is. If the dock is pretty empty then I will let them do it before we shove off but when it’s busy and a lot of them need to adjust I just don’t know when to let them adjust. How have you usually done this in the past? Thanks!

Good question. The amount of time you have to spend doing this lessens as you get further into the season because the lineups aren’t going to change as much (and presumably the shell you’re rowing won’t either) but how I’ve always done it and how our coxswains tend to do it is to tell them to hold off on making any adjustments and then we’ll row 10-15 strokes away from the dock before stopping and letting them do their thing. When we launch in the mornings, the coxswains will always stop just upstream from the dock to either wait for the other boat (since our two eights usually practice together) or to wait for instructions from the coaches (since we tend to run the warmups) so they’ve always got a minute or so to make whatever changes they need. Even if you’re going out on your own and your coach tells you to go right into the warmup and they’ll catch up to you, you can still stop for a second before getting started. Just be quick about it and don’t waste time, that’s the main thing. The coaches aren’t gonna care that somebody needed to move a spacer but if they look over and see you just idly sitting there with no one making any obvious adjustments, that’s when they’ll get annoyed. Same goes for if you stay on the dock to do this … if you’re taking five minutes to launch there better be someone noticeably struggling with whatever they’re adjusting otherwise I can guarantee we’ll be muttering “WTF are they doing…” to ourselves on the launch.

Despite having four teams rowing out of one boathouse, it never gets that crowded on our dock, even when three of the four (or all four) teams are practicing at the same time … and even then, that only happens once or twice a week. (Having two finger docks with four available sides to launch off of definitely helps too.) Ideally you want to get on and off quickly regardless but if there are three or more people trying to adjust their stretchers, slides, etc. then I/our coxswains will just stay on the dock and everyone else can just maneuver around us. Sometimes it’s just easier that way.

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