The Art of the Start

By Marlene Royle

Credit: Peter Spurrier/Intersport

The impending arrival of the scholastic racing season doesn’t leave a lot of time to work on one of the most critical aspects of a sprint race: the start. To get up to speed quickly, try building starting sequence drills into your workouts. Add in 20-stroke accelerations at quarter slide and then half slide every five minutes during steady state. Push the envelope on these short pieces by aiming for stroke rates as high as 50. Focus on release timing and precise blade depth.

Flying or moving starts are also good to incorporate into long-distance training.

When the boat is already moving, row directly into your starting sequence. This will allow you to practice multiple starts without becoming overly fatigued or cold from sitting up for long periods of time during standing starts. Incorporate starts into daily practices so they become second nature to your crew. Begin every training piece with a start and when your crew is rowing intervals settle to your target stroke rate after a complete start sequence. During long rows, a flying start is just the thing to get heads back into the boat and your boat swinging together.

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