Showing posts from December, 2010

8 Tips to Tackle Your 2k Erg Test

Lightweights racing at Crash-Bs in 2012 (Photo: B. Kitch) The junior and collegiate indoor rowing season is just around the corner, and that means sooner or later you are going be testing yourself for 2,000 meters along with your teammates. Whether it's at your club's boathouse, a regional championship, or Crash-Bs, there are a few tips that can help you to achieve your goals this winter. There are as many ways to approach a 2k as there are people rowing, but given my experience the following, simple tricks can put you in the right place when the electronic starting official let's you know it's time to go. 1. Don't worry if you can't sleep. Being nervous is natural, and look at it from the positive standpoint of neurological and physiological preparation: your body and mind are ready to get after it. That's good. The best advice I ever heard regarding sleep was as simple as this: when your body needs sleep, it takes it (I believe this came from Matt Pi

Six-Part Series: What Makes the Great Ones Great?

Announcing a new, six-part series coming to RowingRelated on the characteristics of great athletes across all sports, and what we can learn from both their actions and personalities. Once a week, the RR Staff will look at one aspect of the successful athlete's character, making use of examples from mainstream sports as well as rowing. In so doing, we will delineate the athletic mindset and provide the reader with a new perspective on how to view professional and amateur athletes, as well as how to make the most of his or her own competitive drive. We believe there are six common traits among all great athletes in all sports. In this weekly series we will provide an in-depth analysis of each of these qualities and why we think they are necessary components in all great athletes. 1. Confidence What separates belief in yourself and your abilities from arrogance, and how can cockiness and self-confidence possibly serve to enhance your performance physiologically? 2. Ability t

Video of the Week: Polish Quad

This week's video comes to us from Poland. The Polish Men's Quad, which won gold in Beijing, is shown here during what appears to be a low-rate AT training session. The base rating is 26 s/m—a number at which they arrive with the greatest of ease because of their aggressive, unified drive phase and smooth release, not disturbing the boat and allowing it to run out to the fullest extent before placing the blades once again (the shot of the bow sliding through the water is informative). If you watch the sculler at stroke, you can easily see how much thought and practice he has put into honing his technique. Not only is his sculling superb (in my opinion, the he is the most polished sculler of the crew), his breathing is equally as rhythmic and controlled. If you take a closer look at each one of the scullers, idiosyncrasies will start to emerge. The sculler at bow breaks his arms as he takes the catch, and the two-seat allows his knees to fall over the gunwales just slightly,

Chula Vista Bound: Is Now the Right Time?

The Wall Street Journal got involved in the debate surrounding the US National Team this week, publishing an article that is the first appearance to date of any reasoning behind the moves as expressed by Glenn Merry himself. The rationale, according to Merry, is directly related to training -- the warmer climate in California allows year round training on the water, and, given the US men's failure to bring home any hardware from Karapiro in November, the US Rowing leadership decided that the move would facilitate rapid improvement in small boat categories. The results from the RR short answer poll show that the move is a divisive issue: 38% believed the move was a bad decision, while 32% backed the move to California and 28% remained undecided. While I believe this is the right move in the long-term, there are a number of problems yet to be addressed in the wake of such a dramatic shift, and only 20 months left to resolve them. First, let's look at the benefits of the move fr

Coaches' Corner: Swing

One of the most important, rhythmic sequences in the stroke is the movement of the upper body from the finish position through to the body-set position.    The video above, published by Everett Rowing Association , is a good example of the benefits of good swing. The stern four of this crew have gone on to prominence in the collegiate rowing ranks, and the eight move very well together out of the bow.  Swing is easy to work on during the winter, as is team-wide uniformity of swing, by lining up the ergs at your training session and having the rowers do their steady state training together. If your team can match their hand and body movements as they establish good body position on land, it will solve a great deal of issues when you take to the water once again in the spring. Swing begins with good posture at the release.   The rower must be sitting tall, making sure that the ribcage is not collapsed over the hips. The abs must be engaged in this position, so that they can easily i

Winter Workouts: Why Do Rowers Fear the Erg?

Op-Ed from the RowingRelated Editorial Staff Friend. Not foe. (Illustration: B. Kitch) I am really frustrated by our sport when it comes to the erg being viewed as a torture device rather than a helpful tool that people can enjoy. This negative mindset, which is extremely contagious, plagues the sport, preventing athletes from training to their potential and possibly serving as one of the reasons that careers in rowing, at every level, are often so short. When compared to other endurance sports, I have not encountered an equal level of disdain for such fundamental mental and physical endurance training. My main problem is that everywhere I turn in the rowing community, whether it's high school rowers, college athletes, or even national team hopefuls, I hear of people dreading the erg. I've never heard about a cross country runner 'dreading' a track workout. True, basketball and football players may dread running wind sprints or other such conditioning acti

Lightweight Speed: Spring Predictions

Newell Boathouse (Photo: B. Kitch) The Fall season was dominated by Princeton , but Harvard had quite a showing at both the Charles and the Princeton Chase. Cornell's Varsity performed very well in Boston, but lacks the depth of the front runners. Yale has a ton of power, but as yet they're not applying it well enough to keep pace with their two main rivals. Georgetown also had solid showings at both the Charles and the Chase, but is anyone going to catch Princeton this year? Lightweight racing is almost always close. For that reason, and because all the programs are given very similar parts to make up the whole, it's considered by some to be the most interesting form of racing. You are unlikely to see the kind of separation from the field that Cal and Washington had in the Varsity VIII last June. Still, the Tigers had a fantastic Fall. Not only did the Varsity break the course record at the Charles (by twelve seconds), but also the Tiger JV took seventh overall.

What is Behind USRowing Changes? What Does New Title Mean for Korzo?

In the most recent development from USRowing this December, it was announced today that Kris Korzeniowski will take on the role of Director of Coaching Education, remaining in Princeton while the US men's team takes up its new residences in Chula Vista and Oklahoma City. While I can understand the reasoning behind making use of two training centers given the circumstances, it is difficult to understand the rationale behind this move. Just before CRI's launch of its new coaching education program, USRowing wants to expand its own education programs. Last year, with the fledgling ACRA Championship beginning to establish itself, USRowing created its own collegiate rowing championship regatta. I'm not sure whether this has to do with bandwagon planning or a belief that the governing body of the sport should be profiting from events and programs similar to the coaching education credential at CRI, but it's a strange and similar pattern. Why create competing regattas and prog

Clarification of Changes Made to US Rowing Program

On Friday last week, I wrote to Megan Kalmoe asking her a number of questions regarding the changes made to the US Rowing program. Despite her busy schedule, she took the time to write back with some clear answers. The information is summarized below: First, all selection regattas will continue to be held at Mercer Lake, West Windsor, NJ. US Rowing's view is that fewer athletes from US Rowing Training Centers will attend these regattas in the future -- boats will more commonly be selected via the camp system, prior to the NSRs. Given this, they will send only a limited amount of athletes to these events, to finalize selection. Regarding the separation of the men's heavyweight and lightweight teams, Kalmoe said that her feeling is that there is currently insufficient space to run two programs out of the Arco facility. Apparently, many of the heavyweight men will already have to seek offsite housing, as the their number exceeds that of the available residency spots. By making

A Week After Announcement, Many Questions Remain Unanswered for US Rowing

The upcoming changes regarding US Rowing's training programs and facilities, acknowledged last week following a meeting of the High Performance Committee, have yet to be explained in full by the governing body, nor has any official announcement been made regarding the release of former coach Kris Korzeniowski. The decisions regarding the movement of the men's heavyweight and lightweight teams marked a drastic break with the system in place for the last two decades, with Princeton as a focal point for the US National Team, and the new rationale seems to focus on regional, weight-class specific training centers. This much can be deduced from the text of the announcements -- but will the reasoning behind such massive changes be revealed? There are a number of questions that immediately come to mind regarding the movement of the men's squad(s). The first has to do with selection. Since the new training centers are both over 1, 400 miles from Princeton (Chula Vista is 2, 700 m

Changing Situation for US Rowing

Yesterday, I published an article regarding the changes taking place with US Rowing. After reflecting upon it, I later decided that it was too early to form a strong opinion about the moves, given that so little of the background information has been released. I do, however, feel that it is important to acknowledge the changes taking place, as they have a great effect on the athletes training for London. Up to this point, the most informative article is posted to , as she sits on the HPC (High Performance Committee) as an athlete representative. From her position, she has access to the information behind the scenes, and being that she is there as an athlete representative, presumably she has a sense for how her fellow athletes are handling the situation. Overall, she describes the feeling coming out of the meetings as positive. The facts are as follows: The men's heavyweight program will move to the Arco Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, under the direction of

10 Attributes That Make a Great Coach

Yale's Steve Gladstone with the crew in Boston (Photo: Nick Trojan) Having toured the club circuit, I've been coached by a number of great athletes and leaders. Along the way, each coach contributed something specific to the overall picture, and each did so in a different way. I know this is a common experience, and over the years I've often mused about what features most stood out for me, in a positive way, among all my former coaches. Is it possible to list such attributes? Or are there too many intangibles, like personality and even manner of speaking, that play an important role? I figured I would take a crack at making a list: 1. Confidence For others to believe in what you are teaching, you need to believe in it yourself, and this takes the form of confidence. This is not to be confused with arrogance, which prevents a coach from improving. Confidence simply means that you have faith in your abilities and in the validity of your plan or training program. 2. Consi

For International Success, Post-Collegiate Club Rowing Must Become More Integrated, Competitive

Over the past few months and years we have seen a steady decline in the funding and support of 'non-revenue' men's athletics—or 'Olympic Sports' as Steve Gladstone called them while serving as Athletic Director at Cal. This process began with Title IX in 1990, and has recently picked up speed with a number of the state-funded schools experiencing financial setbacks due to the state of the economy. Just recently, we saw the latest victims here in the Bay Area fall to the economic pressures of rebuilding California and restructuring University of California finances, as the Cal Men's Baseball team was cut from the athletics department, along with the Men's Rugby team. Both were programs with a long history of success—the rugby squad was the most dominant such program in the United States, but when it comes time to cut spending, men's athletics are often the first item on the chopping block. In rowing, the few remaining varsity programs on the men's s