Novice Q&A

Question of the Day

Do you think it’s possible that rowing isn’t “my” sport ? I started late summer but I have been erging for a few months with a friend who is a rower too. Anyway, I feel like everyone is getting better (even the fall novices are almost better than I am and they have been rowing not even 2 months. I feel like my technique/strength/endurance is on a plateau and I feel shitty. I won’t even talk about the 3 awful races I had in the last weeks. IDK, i feel hopeless. How do i know if I’m a bad rower?

It’s totally possible that rowing’s not your sport. It’s not for everyone and there truthfully isn’t anything wrong with that. To be honest though, just reading your question, it sounds like what’s hampering your progress is more of a mental thing than anything physical. In rowing it’s really, really easy to compare yourself to other people (and let’s face it, it’s a huge part of the sport) but you’ve really gotta stop doing that. Focus on yourself, your seat, your improvements, etc. and let the coaches worry about making comparisons. Not everyone learns or picks things up at the same speed, which is fine, but my sympathy as a coach/coxswain ends when you start throwing pity parties for yourself. When you become what’s holding you back, I feel like there’s not much I can say to you other than sit down, figure out why you’re here, if you even want to be here, and come find me when you’ve figured out what you want.

If you feel like you’re plateauing, talk to your coach about your workouts and see what you can do to kickstart things again. Figure out specifically what needs working on and commit to working on it. Forget about how well everyone else is doing because I promise you they aren’t thinking about you or anyone else at all – they’re thinking about what they need to do in order to get the seat they want in the boat they want to be in.

Bottom line, don’t be discouraged by everyone getting better (or appearing to get better). Be motivated to work harder so you can make the coach’s job as hard as possible when it comes time to decide who’s going to be in the top boats. Until you’ve tried as hard as you can and failed, you haven’t failed yet. It’s been what, 2-3 months since you started rowing? That’s not even enough time to get started, let alone get started and fail. Figure out what you need to do differently (mentally and physically) and then do it. You might find that you start seeing physical improvements once your mental outlook changes.

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