” Carlos yesterday I went to the indoor rowing championship with my uni team and a lightweight girl who is not a rower did 7:23.7. You see, next to her there were some high performance athletes, and she beat them too. it was crazy”.
” but I also have something more to share one of the girl next to her who was high performance because she was losing she start giving up, that’s not the way you lose either, you just “row” till the end”.

Ok here we can see some interesting talk about what happened in one of those Indoor Rowing Races on stationary ergometer.

Here is my personal opinion:

We, rowers, are part of a big movement that is called: “ROWING!” We are all crazy about it and totally addicted. We love everything about it. We love the challenge, the Team feeling, the competition, how hard is the sport, the outdoor racing, the indoor challenges against a computer and more and more.

Let’s start by breaking down some of the realities of our sport today 2011.

We ROWERS practice a sport that is called ROWING. Inside of ROWING we have 2 kind of ROWERS:

1) The Rowers that want to go fast on the water and win races on the water.
2) The Rowers that only row on the rowing machine or don’t really focus on water rowing and want to go fast on the rowing machine.

I’m going to talk a lot about the rowers who want to go fast on the water in this tip because of the above talk about a girl that was being compared with elite water rowers and elite standard scores on the stationary rowing machine. We all know that in order to move a boat properly we need to have the right technique and boat skills. We also know that in order to get there many years of long hours of good practice need to be developed. Also it is known that flexibility on your ankles, hip flexors, body dimensions and weight will have a HUGE impact on water performance but not on the stationary rowing machine.
Ok where i’m going here? I want to layout and talk clear that GOOD PERFORMANCE FROM NON ROWERS IS OVERRATED. What is the problem with that?
The problem is what we can see on the talk above that is a very typical reaction of us rowers on those indoor regattas. What are the consequences to that?
- The OVERRATED indoor rower that has never rowed believes that he can be very good at something that is new to him. Also not knowing how he or she is doing on very important matters as flexibility, body dimensions and weight. I say weight because Indoor rowing championships weights are really high and you only race once when on International racing your weight needs to be lower and you have multiple races over a period of time where you need to recover from.

We all know that if you have a good “erg score” you have to be strong and have good fitness. How do you get this score is the “KEY” factor of the situation here. If you want to win big races you need to row really well and have the right body for it, be strong and really fit. If you have the last 2, you will have a good “erg score” but also be fast on the water if you have the first one.

The point of this tip is that we need to understand that overrating good erg scores can have a bad impact on the rower himself and his expectations and on the rowers around him who have been doing hard work for a long time and are developing to be the best they can be.
We all deserve to have a chance to be the best we can be and there is nobody out there who can stop us or work against us to don’t let us achieve that. Many coaches who are lost on the complexity of rowing have the bad habit of overrating good “erg rowers” and destroying hope on the ones that are not there. As we all know the ability to be a boat mover is a huge MUST HAVE to win races on the water! A “good erg score” doesn’t give you any guarantee of real boat skills.

No matter what your erg score is you can go really fast on the water if you learn the proper technique, leverage and coordination. The training program, the correct development of your rowing and body and mental toughness and patience can reward you overtime with amazing water speed. The 99% of rowers row at levels that are not the Olympics or World class events. On all those events “erg scores” are overrated and boat skills undervalued.

Nobody is perfect and we all make huge mistakes on our races. Focus on being more perfect, making less mistakes than your rivals, working harder and longer and believing in yourself that eventually you will get most of your rivals if not all.

I coached a rower for 4 years and never used the stationary rowing machine. We never trained looking at the best. We were going to be the best and put our own limits. She broke the World Indoor Rowing record by over 2 seconds with a time of 6:54. We did what I’m talking above and I never thought that she will be fast because of her erg score. She started as a heavyweight with a 7:25 when she came to be coached by me.
Recently I’ve been coaching a new rower for few months and he has reduced his erg scores to International speed without training for it. We know that the “erg score” will determine our fitness but our development to move a boat fast is going to be the key factor as long as we keep our fitness at the level of the best.

Just get fit and row the best you can and win on the water. Check your fitness on the rowing machine if that motivates you but understand that the score on the stationary rowing erg is only one part of the equation if you want to win races on the water.

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