Category: Ergs

Coxing Ergs Q&A

Question of the Day

What roles does a cox have at erg sprints?

Eh, pretty much the same role you do when your team is testing at your own boathouse – if people want to be coxed, cox them, and if times need to be taken down, do it, otherwise just hang in the background and watch. At CRASH-Bs there are “floor coxswains” who write down times and cox people if they’re asked to (although most people that want to be coxed bring their own so this doesn’t happen often) but the majority of the time is spent just standing there not doing much. (Of the three volunteer roles I’ve had at CRASH-Bs this one was by far the least exciting.)

Ergs Q&A Rowing

Question of the Day

If I am 5’4 and 148 lbs what should my 2k be at? My new 2k is 7:40 (I know it’s awful). Had to take a little break because I had an injury to my one knee. Is this good? What should I bring it down to? My goal is 7:20 before spring season comes around. What would be a good 2k plan? I have 2k sprints coming up and I want to do really well. Thank you! I really love your website so much! I always read it on my free time! 🙂

I’m assuming you’re a girl and in high school, in which case 7:40 is most definitely not an awful 2k time. I can’t tell you what your 2k should be because it’s dependent on a variety of things so if you want specific advice in that area, talk to your coach and see what they say.

Related: How to prepare for a 2k test

Dropping 20 seconds in a month and a half seems pretty ambitious unless you’re a novice and still in that honeymoon period where you’re dropping 30 seconds on every test or if this is the first test you’ve done since last spring (in which dropping a chunk of time wouldn’t be too unreasonable but 20 seconds still seems a bit out there). If 7:40 is your most recent one then I’d probably shoot for something like 7:35-7:37, depending on how you feel.

Related: 2k test strategy

As far as a race plan goes, check out the post linked above, as well as this Instagram I posted last year of one of our freshman’s race plans. Obviously the splits would be different but it’s another example of how you could lay out your race.

College Recruiting: Technique + Erg Scores

College Ergs Recruiting Technique

College Recruiting: Technique + Erg Scores

Previously: Intro || The recruiting timeline + what to consider || What do coaches look at? || Contacting coaches, pt. 1 ||  Contacting coaches, pt. 2 || Contacting coaches, pt. 3 || Contacting coaches, pt. 4 || Highlight videos + the worst recruiting emails || Official/unofficial visits + recruiting rules recap || When scholarships aren’t an option || Managing your time as a student-athlete + narrowing down your list of schools || Interest from coaches + coming from a small program || How much weight do coaches have with admissions + what to do if there are no spots left || Being recruited as a coxswain, pt. 1 || Being recruited as a coxswain, pt. 2

This was an interesting question that came up at NRC – does your on-the-water technique matter during recruiting or is it all about your 2k? The answers from the coaches were split with some saying yes, others saying no, and some saying yes and no. A lot of recruits will send video clips for coaches to evaluate (the importance of having a few good quality ones on hand can’t be emphasized enough) but the coaches can/will also get in touch with your high school coaches to ask how your technique is, amongst other things. They might also go out and watch practice to see for themselves how you look. In that sense technique matters because it’s not something you can hide and get away with not having.

On the other hand, what most coaches are looking for is if you know how to row in general. They’re assuming that you fit the basic parameters (i.e. you’re physiologically suited for the team and academically suited for the university), know the basics of the sport, and have a fundamental understanding of the stroke. At the end of the day though, your adaptability and coachability matter far more than your technique. Each program you’re looking at likely has a certain style or definition of technique that they try to bring their athletes around – think of Harvard and Washington’s “finish pause that isn’t really a pause” as an example. Your ability  – not even that really, more like your willingness – to be coached and make technical changes will be a highly valued trait so if you haven’t been rowing long and/or aren’t the most technically proficient rower, don’t think that you’re automatically out of the running to be recruited.

Pro tip though, don’t ever, ever say to a coach “that’s not how we did it in high school” or “in high school we did it this way…” when they’re trying to coach you on something technical. If you want to get on a coach’s bad side, this is the best and fastest way to do it. Coxswains, this absolutely applies to you too. One of our coxswains did this so many times last year and my eyes still hurt from rolling them every time she did it.

Moving on to the holy grail of recruiting – your erg score. They’re not the only thing coaches look at, obviously, but they are one of (if not the) most important. First and foremost, do your research before asking coaches where you should be or at the very least, reference your research if you want specifics with regards to times. Your best resource will be the times from CRASH Bs, especially if you’re a lightweight guy since the league has been getting markedly faster over the last few years. You can also search the rowing sub on Reddit. This question has been asked numerous times so it’s not hard to find info if you just spend a few minutes searching and reading the threads.

Similarly to each person’s rowing background, every erg score has a narrative. An eight-season rower with a 7:43 2k vs. a multi-sport athlete with four seasons of rowing and a 7:43 are two different narratives. On paper the latter is going to look more favorable so that’s something to keep in mind – if you’ve been rowing for 6-8 seasons, makes sure you’ve got the erg scores to show for it.

Related: College recruiting: Interest from coaches + coming from a small program

Many of the top programs won’t offer official visits to kids until they’re under a certain benchmark (for example, you have to be <7:20 during your junior year to be offered an official from the Wisco women) so if it’s not obvious already, simply “loving” the sport and having done it for several seasons isn’t enough. You also cannot hide behind the whole “my technique is better than my erg score” logic. It doesn’t fly with college coaches and as Kerber from Cornell said, hope is not a strategy. That goes back to the earlier discussion of how important is technique – it’s important and you need to be decent but erg scores are the most objective form of evaluation coaches have so if it’s not up to par, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Also, never say you don’t know your 2k. It’s ridiculous that you’re even entering into this process without knowing what it is so before you start filling out questionnaires, emailing coaches, etc. get on an erg and do one so you have an idea of where you’re at right now. You basically need to know two times – your PR and your most recent time. They may or may not be from the same test, it doens’t really matter. If you haven’t 2k’ed in awhile, do some training on your own and test before practice. Make sure you have a coach or your coxswain (but preferably your coach) there to verify it too. 4x500m at your goal splits with 2min rest between the pieces was one of the workouts suggested by a couple of the coaches so that would be a good starting point if you’re planning to test soon.

Next week: (More) Questions to ask college coaches

Ergs Technique Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Analyzing power curves on an RP3

Hopefully you guys aren’t completely sick of me posting stuff about force curves yet because I came across another video that talks about what different curves mean relative to your individual technique. Even though these were captured on one of the RowPerfects, the same general idea still applies to the Concept2s so it’s worth watching if you find this stuff interesting like I do. The team now has eight of these RP3s so I’ve been trying to brush up on all this stuff so I can familiarize the coxswains with it as we start using them more regularly in the winter.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the RP3s at HOCR, I posted a picture of the screens (which are actually Acer tablets about the size of a Kindle) on the team’s Instagram that you can see here.

How to train when you’re sick … as a rower

College Ergs How To Training & Nutrition

How to train when you’re sick … as a rower

Previously: Steer an eight/four || Call a pick drill and reverse pick drill ||  Avoid getting sick || Make improvement as a novice || Protect your voice || Pass crews during a head race || Be useful during winter training

It’s inevitable that at the start of a new school year/semester or season (winter … always winter) a bug will make its way around campus and will eventually spread throughout the team. It’s happened on every team I’ve been a part of and never fails to make everyone downright miserable for the two weeks it takes to get over it. If you’re training while sick (or considering it), here’s a couple tips + reminders.

Related: How to avoid getting sick during winter training

Sleep, fluids, and easily digestible meals are the best way to combat a cold

Even though you’ll probably feel less productive due to lower energy levels, don’t skimp on sleep to make up for whatever work you’re not getting done. In theory it doesn’t sound like the worst plan in the world but trust me, the only thing that’s on the same level of regret as working through a hangover is working through a nasty cold. Accept that you’re sick and need to take a break. Communicate with the appropriate people to get an extension if you need it or to cover your shift at work and just go to sleep. Stay hydrated too by keeping your water bottle nearby and downing water, Pedialyte, etc. at regular intervals. If you can handle eating small meals, do so. Since moving to Boston, whenever I’m sick my go-to meal is chicken noodle soup from Wegmans so if you have one near you I highly recommend having a friend pick you up some. I don’t know what magical potion they put in there but I swear it speeds up my recovery time like no other. (Plus it’s delicious so there’s that too.)

You can train through a cold as long as you don’t develop a fever and it doesn’t make it’s way into your chest

You’ll typically hear this referred to as “above the neck” and “below the neck” symptoms. If you’ve got a runny nose, congestion, a sore throat, etc. then you’re typically OK to practice (unpleasant as it may be to do so). Backing off on the length and/or intensity of your workout for a day or two is usually smart in these cases just to give your body a bit of a break. Your standard cold isn’t going to have much impact on your performance but once your temperature starts spiking, you start experiencing widespread muscle soreness, or your cold turns into something like bronchitis (this happens to me every year without fail), you’ve gotta take it more seriously and go to a doctor or the student health center on campus. This is the point where similar to a physical injury, if you don’t take it seriously you could end up hurting yourself more in the long run.

All of this obviously requires communication with your coach so none of that “I can’t tell my coach I’m sick” bullshit. (If that’s where you’re at then you’ve got bigger issues than the common cold to deal with.) “But I have a 2k/6k/seat racing tomorrow and I have to be there…” Yea, no. Again, if your cold is minor tell your coach so they’re aware (do this BEFORE, not after) and then proceed with whatever you’re doing. Get plenty of sleep the night before, stay hydrated, fuel as best you can, etc. If you’re really sick, tell your coach (or have your parents do it if you’re in high school and think your coach will get pissed at you) and ask to make it up when you’re healthy.

Do your part to prevent the spreading of germs

This should be common practice anyways but make sure you’re diligent about cleaning the erg handles, weights, etc. after using them to avoid spreading germs (or something more severe like MRSA) to the rest of the team. Wash your hands, don’t share water bottles (don’t do this anyways but especially don’t do it when you’re sick), etc. Basically follow all the rules you were taught in elementary school about proper hygiene and you’ll be good. If you come to practice with a minor cold and someone else catches it, it’s not the end of the world but it should be a reminder that you need to take the necessary precautions to ensure it doesn’t spread any further.

Image via // @tristanshipsides