Showing posts from January, 2011

Video of the Week: Korzo Coaching at Chula Vista

This video, shot in 2007, gives an eight-minute window in the coaching style and approach of one of the most news-worthy figures in all of USRowing last Fall -- Kris Korzeniowski. Not only this, but it shows what the training environs are like at Arco, which has recently become the seat of the US men's team. Though it was shot during a different Olympic cycle, it features some banter from Sam Stitt (most recently the three-seat in the US Men's 4- in Karapiro), as well as drills along with Korzo's commentary. In the last press-release regarding the changing role for Korzo in the coming year, his position was vaguely defined, and one suspects that he may be lending a helping hand during the 17 months left as we head toward London. Note: For FeedBurner subscribers, click the title of the article to view video.

Great Ones, Part 4: Nature versus Nurture

We all know that the greatest athletes in the world are blessed with a great deal of talent and natural ability. Rowing is a sport which favors those that are tall and have long arms and legs because rowing is a sport of leverage. It is also a sport of strength and endurance and thus those with a large lung capacity and large hearts that can pump a lot of blood have a natural advantage. However, there are other aspects of an athlete's arsenal: 'talents' that are often overlooked when it comes to this subject, or characteristics not commonly thought of as 'talents.' These are things that people can practice and improve over time. It is my belief that mental toughness, discipline, work ethic/dedication, intelligence/knowledge and confidence, all of which are born of both experience and perseverance. These are the things that can be controlled and therefore are the things that we should focus on in our own pursuit of greatness. The first example is mental toughn

Video of the Week: The Searle Brothers, 1992

This week's video comes to us from the 1992 Games in Barcelona, and is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, sprints in Olympic rowing history. The brothers from Britain move through the Abbagnale brothers of Italy -- the reigning World Champions at the time, and the favorites to win the event—and manage to do so within the last 300m of the race. Only in the coxed pair can you effect such a huge change of speeds in so little time. Greg and Jonny Searle are nothing if not patient—they leave it so late that the first time I watched this race, I couldn't believe they were going to come back, even though I already knew the outcome. Greg Searle, now 38 years old, has recently made a comeback to the GB National Team, and hopes to race once again for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. It would be his fourth Olympics as an oarsman. He's made a good effort so far, working his way through trials and into the GB VIII, which won a silver medal in Karapiro last November. -RR

Rowing to Cycling: Australia's Ginn Makes Transition Look Easy

Drew Ginn has quite a track record in rowing (note the use of dramatic understatement). He's won three Olympic gold medals, and would likely have won four, if it weren't for an injury that prevented him from competing in the Sydney Games. His last race up to this point was the final of the coxless pairs in Beijing, where he and Duncan Free dominated the field despite not being able to practice during the regatta (again, Ginn was suffering from an injury). Only the Canadians were able to come anywhere near the Aussies, though to do so they needed to overstroke the tall duo of Ginn and Free by an average of four beats per minute. Suffice it to day, Drew Ginn is a damn good oarsman. In the wake of Beijing, Ginn, who was struggling with back issues leading up to and during the Games, finally took some time away from the sport, had surgery, and healed up, only to find himself with the itch for yet another physical challenge. Because of the condition of his back, Ginn fixed on cycl

Article from the RowingRelated Editorial Staff Gaining Worldwide Recognition

The recent article from the RowingRelated Ed. Staff entitled, 'Winter Workouts: Why do Rowers Fear the Erg?' is garnering attention from the worldwide rowing community, and now, several Olympians have weighed in on the subject. The article, posted as a 'Guest Blog' to the Rowperfect UK site (thanks to Rebecca Caroe and Mohit Gianchandani), now has comments from British Olympian Pauline Bird, multiple-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist single sculler Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand, and former lightweight World Champion Frans Göbel of The Netherlands. All of this points to the fact that it is indeed a divisive issue among rowers, though the consensus seems to be that thoughtful use of the ergometer is a necessary aspect of training. Thanks very much to Rebecca and Mohit for spreading the word about this article, and we look forward to seeing how the debate develops! For more updates check out the RowingRelated Twitter feed (@rowingrelated).

Great Ones, Part 3: Focus and Drive

Many say they want to be the best, and claim they want it more than the competition, but very few actually do the work along the way. Similarly, many athletes can have the desire and the focus required to be a champion on race day, but not nearly as many have that same focus and drive day in and day out, when it's the middle of the offseason/they are tired/sore/busy/emotionally drained, or it is freezing cold and raining/snowing outside. At a certain level, the dedication required seems uncomfortably similar to a semi-weird, all-consuming obsession, like chess with the addition of physical abuse and exhaustion. Weird or not, it is this tenacity, this unrelenting force driving them, that causes the greatest athletes to prepare with such zeal and attention to detail. Although the bread-and-butter of any athlete's work is goal-oriented training, managing the "small stuff" is what separates the great ones. As the legendary Bob Knight, who racked up the most wins of an

Video of the Week: Men's 2-, Sydney

This week's video comes to us from the Sydney Olympics, and features one of the greatest sprints in Olympic history. The French men's 2-, who cross the 1000 m line in 4th place, take up the rate just before 750 m to go. From then on, it is an all-out, cracking sprint to the finish. They have their moment, and they make their move, much like Tufte in the final of the 1x in 2004 and 2008, or the Searle brothers in 1992 (the last time the 2+ was an Olympic event). It's one of the things that makes racing small boats so exciting—the opportunity to shift speeds so greatly over so few strokes allows well-timed moves to completely change a race. This race also features a great performance in a small boat from a U.S. crew (Ted Murphy and Sebastian Bea)—something that McLaren and the US men's team are striving for in the Games to come in London. -RR

RR Interview: 10 Questions with Silas Newby Stafford, Stroke of the US Men's 4-

Stafford & Co. in NZ (Photo Courtesy of S. N. Stafford) Silas Newby Stafford has quite a track record already in his young career. After getting started in the sport as a college freshman, Stafford's talent was immediately evident, and he put an exclamation point on his excellent college career in 2007, stroking the Stanford Varsity VIII to its highest ever finish at the IRA (tying Harvard for second place in an incredible photo finish ). He then went on to win the U23 World Championship in the VIII in 2008, before moving on to Cambridge in the Fall. While rowing at Cambridge, Stafford once again found himself in the stroke seat, and was referred to at the time by the British Press as "The Boy with the Golden Ticket." His crew emerged victorious (despite a clash that greatly effected his crew) during the Trial VIIIs racing that took place during the Autumn of 2008, and he stroked the CUBC Blue Boat for the 2009 Boat Race. Though they were eventually defeated by

Great Ones, Part 2: Clutch Performers

Great athletes find a way. Even when they are not at their physical best, they manage to come up with a performance that changes the game. The language is full of clichés about this phenomenon: "when the going gets tough, the tough get going," and, "great players make great plays in big games," to name a couple. The funny thing about clichés is, they exist for a reason. There are two aspects to performing at your best despite the odds: one is physical, and the other mental. Maybe this seems obvious, but the two must be in perfect harmony for the athlete to find the success that he or she seeks when it counts most. This harmony creates a balance, though the relationship is one that can fluctuate depending on the circumstances. First, let's talk about the physical aspect of performance. The best athletes in the world are also the best at preparing for their athletic endeavors. The arc of their training sets them up perfectly for the most important day -- that

Video of the Week: Trial VIIIs

This week's video details the Trial VIIIs racing that took place last Fall between members of the CUBC and OUBC squads -- a race that helps to determine which athletes will be in the mix for the Boat Race this Spring. The Trial VIIIs race on the same course as the Boat Race (the Tideway from Putney to Mortlake), and the event serves as one of the only true experiences of the course that both squads are allowed as they train for their time-honored battle (this year will mark the 157th running of the event). The Trial VIIIs race is an intra-squad event (i.e. CUBC 1 races CUBC 2), which is effectively one massive seat race, with two lineups from each University vying for dominance and a clear shot at the real thing. This year's test between the two arch rivals will take place on March 26th. Cambridge currently leads the series over Oxford, 80-75. Thanks to Chiara Ferrara of The Rowing Daily for spreading the word about this video, which was released last week and which boasts

The Dogma of Rowing: When Tradition Competes with Reason

Racing to the line on Lake Natoma (Photo: B. Kitch) The question coaches need to ask themselves is, "Why?" Rowing is heavily steeped in tradition, being the oldest intercollegiate sport, and boasting one of the longest-running contests in the modern era (considerably longer than the modern Olympic Games) in the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race , which dates back to 1829. While this lends the sport a certain gravitas, and makes for a rich history filled with outstanding, larger-than-life personalities, it can also hold back scientific progress and adaptation. As Volker Nolte recently discussed in Rowing News , the first such step away from the technological advancement of the sport was the banning of the sliding rigger, but there are other examples. While I value tradition and history very highly, I don't feel that the sport has been corrupted by the technical and technological advancements that have been made over the past two centuries, nor am I worried that, should sci

Thank You from RR: Over 10,000 Visitors in First Three Months

We here at RowingRelated would like to say thanks to everyone who has helped us to get started, even if it meant simply reading an article we've posted to the site. Having started the site just under three months ago (on October 11th , 2010), the hope was that the rowing community, which we feel is both intelligent and extremely dedicated, might appreciate a closer look at many of the things that often get taken for granted, as well as a fresh take on training regimens, technique, and the everyday. So far, we have been humbled to have received over 10,000 visitors (over 2,000 of whom have come from abroad), as well as some great feedback, and we want to say thanks for making our fledgling venture a success thus far. There is much, much more to come in 2011, and we look forward to sharing our opinions, thoughts and ideas with all of you as we begin the new year. I'd like to extend a special thank you to Sean Wolf of Rowing Illustrated, Rebecca Caroe of Rowperfect, everyone at Ro

What Makes the Great Ones Great? Part 1: Confidence

How can we define confidence? What separates it from arrogance? Where are the lines blurred between positive and negative personality traits? Arrogance, or cockiness, in an athlete and in the sporting world more generally, is most often viewed as a negative trait. However, the very qualities that can result in arrogance clearly help to make the great ones great at their craft. We often regard athletes who seem to think very highly of themselves, or who even go so far as to speak about themselves in grand terms, as far from the ideal. But, undoubtedly, it is the belief that no one on earth is more capable than they that allows them to achieve at such a high level. Perhaps without such belief and behavior they might lose the competitive edge that allows them to reach those extra few percentage points that separate the 'great' athletes from those who are 'very good.' This is not to say that every athlete that demonstrates outward signs of total self-confide

Video of the Week: 'Pieces of Eight'

This week's video, which I discovered on LARC's Rowing Blog , is a short documentary film that tracks the training and racing of the New Zealand men's VIII that won back-to-back World Championships in 1982 and 1983, and entered into the preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as the favorite in the event. The documentary is split into six parts, and features some fantastic rowing footage, great background on Kiwi rowing that will be of interest in a year when Karapiro hosted the World Championships, and a wonderfully 1980s soundtrack. Much like the later film, 'A Fine Balance,' which tracked the US men's team during the lead-up to the 2000 Olympic Games (the US won three-straight World Titles in the VIII in 1997, 1998, and 1999), the team with the target on their backs endures some setbacks (some of them self-imposed) along the way. The athletes come from all walks of life, and the film goes a long way toward giving the modern rower a sense for a t