Did you know that Keith Jackson – who spent 54 years as one of college football’s most famous announcers – considered this race between the University of Washington and the USSR to be the most exciting event he ever covered? Lots of history in this race but also pretty cool to see someone so well known in broadcasting be linked to it in such a unique way.
Really excited/relieved we’re renting boats for winter training instead of driving the trailer across the country. See you in three days Oakland!
Have you guys seen this video yet? I’ve seen it floating around on Twitter for a week or two now and thought it was interesting. It also made me laugh that she recruited rowers because “rowing loads the arms”.
If you know you should be stretching after practice but your team doesn’t have a dedicated stretching routine or you’re just not sure what to do, check out this video. It’s 20 minutes long which is about how long you should be spending stretching and/or rolling out after a workout anyways.
For me, the parts of my body that feel the most sore when I come off the water (particularly after a race) are the front of my hips (from leaning over and contracting those muscles), quads, low/mid back, and shoulders. I really like the twists with the bar at the beginning, though instead of twist going back and forth I kinda roll my body instead. I start in the same standing position, arms draped over the bar or whatever I’m using, and rotate my upper body around my hips – sorta like you’re hoola-hooping in slow motion. From there I gradually start leaning my upper body forward until I’m fully bent over and am just loosely hanging there before going in reverse and working my way back up. After that I go into a long side stretch, keeping my arms draped over the bar and just leaning as far over to each side as I can.
Scorpions (at 6:35) are one of the stretches I like to do for the front of my hips. Rather than go back and forth I like to hold it for 30ish seconds before switching, sometimes a little longer depending on how sore I am. This part of my body always hurts the most when it’s cold out (to the point where it actually hurts to stand back up) so this is usually one of the first stretches I do once I get out of the boat or off the launch.
The last thing I do is a few flows through cobra, child’s pose, and downward dog, similar to what she does between 12:05 and 12:45. I try to hold each one for a couple seconds (3-5ish max) but for the most part I like to keep it moving – not fast though, it’s still a slow, smooth transition between each pose. When I remember (which isn’t all the time) I try to take the opportunity to close my eyes as I go through this and focus on my breathing. It’s a good way to relax (or try to at least), especially if I and/or the boat had a shitty practice.
All in all this takes me maybe 10-15 minutes. I always felt like it was a little less critical for me to stretch right after practice (compared to the rowers) so I’d usually wait until I was home and had taken a hot shower before doing this. I found that I felt less sore doing it this way but I still stretched with whoever stuck around whenever I didn’t have anything else to do.
Any other coxswains have their own stretching routines? What do you do?
If you’ve been around for awhile you’ll remember that the first big series I did on the blog (in 2013!) was on all the nuances of rigging a boat. (You can check out all those posts here if you haven’t read them in awhile.) The first post was on spread and span and also included two videos showing how to measure both, in case you want another reference on how it’s done.
If you’re looking for a way to kill some time this winter, definitely consider asking your coach or boatman if he/she can show you how to rig a boat. It goes way beyond just putting the riggers on and taking them off and is a skill that all coxswains should learn. There’s also a tools post in that series that you should check out if you’re on the hunt for some wrenches but aren’t sure of the sizes you’ll need. (All of that stuff makes great stocking stuffers too if any parents out there are still looking for ideas!)
I still think it’s really cool that college teams used to represent the US at the Olympics. The most famous story is, of course, Washington at the 1936 Berlin games but did you know the college crews won trials in the eight and raced at the Olympics every quadrennial between 1920 and 1968? The only exception was 1964 when Vesper won and raced in Tokyo (where they won the last gold medal for the Americans until 2004).
Spoiler alert, this is basically what we do all fall to determine who we’re gonna offer a spot to. Now you know our secrets.
I love eyes-closed rowing. It brings a different sense of calm and focus to the boat that you can’t really achieve when your eyes are open and there’s 20 different things all begging you to steal a quick glance at them. There were two years in particular where my crews did a lot of rowing like this … my freshman/novice year of high school and my freshman year of college. I think this was because we were either learning to row from scratch or adapting to a style that was different than what we’d all been rowing for the previous four years. Like they said in the video, it taught us – all of us – how to really feel the boat and not react to every little wobble.
On days when the set would be really off or we just weren’t having a good row, we would try to turn it around and salvage the latter half of practice by pushing pause on the workout and doing some eyes-closed steady state rowing for 3-5 minutes. This helped us re-concentrate our focus and reestablish that trust within the boat, which in turn led to an improved second half of the row. (Not always but most of the time, even if the gains were marginal.) If we knew we had a hard practice in store, we’d do our entire warmup with eyes closed to emphasize, again, trusting the guy in front and behind you, and to force us to make sure our technique was on point and we weren’t just muscling the blades through the water. It’s definitely a drill worth incorporating whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Now that the fall recruiting season is winding down I wanted to share this video that I came across a few months ago. If you’re not familiar with him, Geno Smith is the coach of UConn’s women’s basketball team (always one of the top programs in the country), as well as a former head coach of Team USA’s women’s basketball team. What he says in this video might be in the context of basketball but it’s applicable to any sport and something to keep in mind as you progress throughout your career and the recruiting process.