The final month before your peak race is a time to shave off every possible second and add to your boat speed. Start by maximizing your time on the water through careful planning and by putting extra emphasis on the weakest part of your race. Keep your technical work at 75 percent pressure. This allows you pay attention to detail and limits fatigue. It is also critical that you know your start. Practice the first five strokes of a start every time you begin to row. Doing so will teach you how to get off the line in all types of conditions with confidence. Also, try to incorporate half-slide rowing into your practices. These abbreviated strokes help to strengthen your rhythm and remove extra motions from your stroke. It is an effective way to improve your entry, not to miss the water, and learn to take the water on the move. You do not have the habits at half slide that you have at full slide so you can perfect the pick up of the boat speed and it allows you to do high rating work without the psychological stress. Finally, aim to increase your boat speed with every stroke in your taper week. Races are won by less than two seconds so this exercise could be your ticket to the podium.
Days at the course offer plenty of down time, but it doesn’t have to be wasted time. Like coaches, coxswains must also be scholars of the sport. Fortunately, there is a lot they can learn by watching and listening to other crews. Technique and tactics, in particular, are elements that can be gleaned with patience and a watchful eye.