Day: January 21, 2013

Coxing Q&A Racing

Question of the Day

Hi! Since the spring races all start boats at the same time, do you have any tips on steering straight? I can tell when I’m veering off my lane, but for some reason, I can’t/don’t know how to fix it! I remember you saying it’s all about the small adjustments, then straightening out, but I can’t seem to get it. [Ex today: all 3 boats lined up, me on the outside, I end up too far out away from the other 2]. Tips? Thanks!

For most races in the spring, if you’re lucky, you’ll start with stake boats and race down a buoyed course. God’s gift to coxswains is a buoyed course – trust me on this. The key to steering straight is picking a point in the distance while you’re at the starting line. Once you’re gotten your point and are lined up straight down the course, pick something that is right off your stroke’s ear or shoulder. When you start, make sure whatever you chose is always lined up on that spot on your stroke. If it’s not, don’t panic – just move the rudder to whatever side needs the adjustment and then move it right back. Remember though that the faster the boat is going, the smaller your adjustments need to be. When you’re racing if it seems like you’re not pushing the string forward enough, you’re probably already pushing it as far as you need to go.

Related: How to steer an eight or four

The other key to steering straight is to know when not to steer. If you steer too often or are constantly (sometimes unknowingly) pushing the strings back and forth, you’ll end up all over the place. Know when to hold the rudder straight (which should ideally be about 99% of the time.)

Another strategy, and the simplest one when you’re on a buoyed course, is to just look at where the buoys converge (think of the “vanishing point” concept in art…) and keep your stroke’s head right in between where the two buoy lines come together.

Related: Hi, I’m going to start coxing the novice men for this upcoming season, as well as rowing myself, but I’m so nervous about my first outing – do you have any tips? I’m mainly worried about the steering, spacial awareness, and other boats.

When I would race other crews during practice, I knew going into them that steering was the one thing I needed to work on so to force myself to get better I would purposefully line myself up in the middle of the other crews. I’d use my peripheral vision to determine where I was in comparison to them and then rely on the point I’d chosen before the start of the piece. The added pressure of knowing I had $40,000 in equipment on either side of me was a HUGE motivator to not veer out of my lane. I’d suggest trying that the next time you do pieces with other crews and see if it helps.

College Q&A Recruiting Teammates & Coaches

Question of the Day

Let’s say I want to be recruited onto a D1 college team. I just emailed the coaches, how long should I expect to wait until I get a response back? Will they email everyone back the first time or only the ones they’re interested in?

When I was emailing coaches I think I heard back from the schools I was planning to visit within a few days but all within two weeks max. I don’t know if that’s because they were interested in me too or if it was because I’d mentioned I was going to be on campus and would like to meet with them or what. Everyone’s experience is different and it really depends on the coaches you email but I’d say give it at least two weeks. Just be aware of when during the season you’re emailing them. If they’re preparing for a big race (like HOCR, Sprints, conference championships, etc.), traveling, on a training trip, etc. then the response time may be a little longer.

Related: Hey, I’m a senior in high school. I’m a coxswain and my coach said that I should email coaches to let them know that I’m interested in joining the team, do you have any advice as to what I should do/say in the emails?

One thing you can/should do that would probably get you a faster response is if you filled out the recruiting forms that are on the school’s athlete website (usually on the team page). They’re just gonna ask you to fill it out anyways so doing it before you email them just saves time and shows the coaches that you’ve done your homework and looked into the process, the team, etc. before reaching out.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Google Talks with James Cracknell

Google Talks posted this interview last week with James Cracknell and his wife, Beverley Turner. If you don’t know who James Cracknell is, he is a former Olympian for Great Britain who competed in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in the coxless four. Both times he won the gold – in 2000 he was in the boat with Steve Redgrave (when he won his fifth consecutive gold) and Matthew Pinsent, who was also in the 2004 boat.

Related: Video of the Week: Gold fever

This interview that he did at Google with his wife focuses on a lot of different things, but it spends a good amount of time talking about the accident he suffered in July of 2010. He was on an “adventure-quest”, as I’ll call it, to row, run, cycle, and swim from Los Angeles to New York in 16 days. While cycling through Arizona, he was hit from behind by a petrol tanker, a crash that resulted in a serious skull fracture that lead to an even more serious brain injury. His recovery is an ongoing process and it is noted that he may never fully recover due to the nature of the injury he sustained. If anything, his accident should encourage you to always wear a helmet while riding your bike since the helmet he was wearing is probably the only reason he’s still alive.

The video itself is about 55 minutes long but it’s worth the watch when you have time. He’s moved on from traditional rowing but has found many other exciting endeavors to fill his time with. What is it about rowers that leads us to partake in such crazy (but thrilling) adventures?