People always ask me, ‘How did you beat people so much bigger than you?’ The answer is elite coaching; which includes the mental approach, physical training and rowing technique.
As a member of the winningest coaching family tree and the most successful high school rowing coach in the world, I see a lot of different rowing techniques. I often watch rowers lift weights by swinging and rolling shoulders, in order to lift a weight that is too heavy for them. On the water and on the erg I see them swing their bodies, pull and push in order to get the boat to move, or erg spin. What they fail to understand is that proper technique with weights and rowing builds muscles at the maximum rate and dramatically decreases the chance for injury.
At this year’s Head of the Charles several of my students won gold medals. One just emailed me to say, ‘One thing I have noticed with my new technique, is that I’m not able to get up to as high speeds over 10 strokes by prying the back and getting the load on really fast. However, what I lose over 10 strokes, is certainly made up for in the third 500 (or the third mile) of the race.’
The goal is to win over 2,000 meters, or a head race distance. The goal is not to wail your body around in order to have the fastest 500 meters, or 1,500 meters time. So, you must be efficient and fast.
A lot of people say, ‘I’ll get elite coaching later.’ The problem is time. The window to leverage rowing to change the course of your life is small and the international competition is strong. Just look at all the top boats. Sixty to ninety percent of the rowers in the varsity A boats at the top university rowing programs are not U.S. citizens. You can’t wait until later, because every stroke you take reinforces the poor technique your amateur coach is teaching you and it will take you more time to retrain your muscle memory.
Too many high school rowers find their dreams shattered after giving all they could, only to end up submitting an erg score to college which is too slow. If your not below 7:25 for a woman, or 6:23 for a man — you will not be recruited to a top college rowing program and obviously not be on their varsity A boat. It is not the rowers fault. They put their heart into it and give it their all.
The fault rests squarely on the shoulders of the amateur coaches, whom the young impressionable high school rowers put their faith in. It is the poor mental, physical and technical skill of the coach which leads to average results and shattered dreams.
If you are passionate about rowing and aspire to row in college, you owe it to yourself to explore elite coaching. Text or call: 949-400-7630
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