Coaching, training, rigging and enjoying the sport

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It’s been a long winter

It truly has been a long winter in the Midwest. We were “winterizing” our fleet the first weekend in November, and in mid April and we are only just “de-winterizing” the fleet. Yep, that’s almost a full 6 months off the water. And our squad only returned to the water 2 weeks ago today. That’s a long hibernation! Continue reading



A debrief on a black morning

It was black out there on the water this morning. And it was still black when we got off the water, later than usual. And in the blackness there were a few things that happened, sadly not all positive. Continue reading

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The relationship of swivel height and stretcher position: it’s about your oar not you

When I first moved overseas I laughed a little at my new club when we would carry an eight out. Instead of carrying the boat relative to what seat you would be rowing (bow four at the bow and stern four at the stern end), it was about the “talls” at the stern and the “shorties” at the bow. This sort of worked in terms of carrying a whopping heavy concrete like boat at similar shoulder heights, except that the “shorties” end bore a bit more of the brunt of the weight. But this vertical challenge didn’t stop there; it then carried into the boat. I had once set up a boat, and looked over the rigging one morning, and when the boat was next used most of the crew were quick to surmise that they needed more or less height on their gate based on their overall height. This thought process is nothing new to me. I am more accustomed to the justification of moving the foot stretcher to one extreme or the other of the stretcher slide based on the rower’s overall height. This has always had me scratching my head, as it’s not really in any way the right approach. Continue reading

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Language of coxswains

It’s a funny thing, a coxswain. I mean it in the nicest possible way. They can be the chess player in the crew, the one with the strategy. But at the same time they need the crew to move the boat. A coxswain can’t win a race on their own! And then what they do with that strategy is another thing… if they even realise they have it. Continue reading

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The stroke of the boat: some expectations

Dear Stroke,

It’s such a wonderful thing to have you in the boat. But you don’t need to sit high and almighty in your castle on high waiting for your prince to come. We might seem like 7 dwarves behind you, but we’re loyal and hard working. Have some trust in us, and we’ll in turn, repay that trust.


The rest of the crew

PS. You might be closer to your prince than you realise with all the frogs in the lake at the moment. Continue reading

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Ergoing: the workouts, the sweat, and the payoff.

Don’t you hate it when your predictive text changes ergo to ego? It can change the meaning of a message immediately! Or does it? There is actually something egocentric about the ergo, and maybe it’s that hard truth that makes rowers hate it. I put myself to a challenge in the month of January, culminating in my first ever indoor rowing regatta. What a month it was. Continue reading

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Sweep oar swing: following the arc

As a sculler you are symmetrical in the boat so your swing is always with the length of the boat. Your thumbs on the end of the sculls keep that pressure and aid the work around the pin. But in sweep oar your body swing helps and there should be a body swing following your oar around the pin. The coach mentions it, but what is it, and why? Continue reading

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Rowing through wake, whitecaps and current

I thought I wasn’t too bad rowing through wake and whitecaps in Australia. Then I moved to the USA. Now I know there’s wake and there’s wake. I would have said before moving just deal with it, shorten up for a stroke or three. Head your bow toward it. Ride the waves. But now I know there’s wake and there’s wake. Continue reading