How exciting! Saturday! First day of racing at the Head of the Charles Regatta 2011!
Hundreds of boats and rowers are going to be racing today all out for a result. You all have worked so hard and are excited to get the best result ever. Many of you are looking to win or get on the top 5xcent. Just amazing how many rowers are going to be just thinking alike today looking for a great race, but what is the truth of this race? Wat is the truth of the real thinking of the rowers as they line up and go down the course all out looking for their BEST RESULT EVER?
What is going to happen? What are you going to be thinking?
It is very interesting but the first good tip I have for you for your race is that no matter how bad you are rowing, no matter how much you need to stop because of the other crews or penalties you get, no matter how bad you feel, just go all out and NEVER GIVE UP one stroke. WHY? The reason is that if you give up one stroke you will regret it a lot because you DON’T KNOW HOW YOUR RIVALS ARE DOING! You don’t have control over them and the reality is that you are racing for a ranking. This is not a beauty contest of rowing technique or course perfection. This is not a contest of helping the other crews to have a great race. This is not a contest of stroke rate and stroke length. This is not a contest of balance and rowing together. This is ABOUT YOU! This is a contest of speed and being the fastest you can be again other crews. You are racing directly the time against other crews and you never know how they are doing and how many mistakes they are making. You have NO IDEA.
I can assure you that I have spoken with so many winners of this race and I can say that all of them have had a bad course or not their best, had felt tense and rowing short. Have felt out of rhythm and out of control, and have had the feel that it would be hard to win. All had different feelings and felt negative about parts of their rowing and race. All had the feel they couldn’t really assure a win because it wasn’t a perfect race but all did one thing the same:
THEY ALL RACE ALL OUT FROM THE FIRST STROKE TO THE LAST ONE NOT GIVING UP ONE SINGLE STROKE!
This message is very important. No matter how things are going keep thinking positive and don’t give up a single stroke. Always thing you are going to do your best and always thing your rivals are hurting as much as you or more. The more the race hurts the better because the harder you are going. The more times you think about giving up the better because it means you are going hard as hell. Remember this is a contest of speed and the earlier you feel you are going hard and holding there the earlier you will know you are performing.
It is going to be an uncomfortable race and this is how it should be if you take it as a real race. Aggressive crews that have a chance to win are dead at the 5 minutes mark and just hold there rowing their best and pacing that intensity and hard feel. It is just the way it is!
I would like you to really practice positive thinking during the race. Talk to yourself. Cheer yourself up. Make moves to don’t get the boat lose too much speed. Attack to pass. Turn your head to get the course going. Just keep pushing non stop and do it again and again non stop. Think you are finishing every time you see a bridge. Just trick yourself to make it easier. Just forget about the length of the race and go for it. Count strokes. Go again and again. Punch the pain just as you feel it. Don’t let the feel of pain get you, just remember that everyone is hurting as much as you do and they are all there doing it too, embrace the pain and don’t get annoyed by it, it is what it is, this is what rowing hard brings. Think on every stroke how excited you will be at the finish line when you have left everything out there on the course. You will be so happy when you see the results and see you got 5 crews in just 2 seconds and will think: That was the crazy move I made ballistic at the Harvard bridge! That was that crazy sprint out of rationality I made for the last 2 minutes at 40 strokes a minute! YEAH! You will know you have won the race or got your best result ever by just 1 second because of that. Just think how important and close this race is and remember it is a contest of speed and a ranking, it is not a contest of beauty!
Go for it, row smart and hard and give it all there! I’m excited for your race! GOOD LUCK TODAY! JUST DO IT!