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The Problematic Rower

BY RICH DAVIS
PHOTO BY ED MORAN

Don’t give up trying to help this rower. Athletes who are seemingly unable to change typically have trouble breaking bad habits or unconscious patterns. Sometimes they don’t understand what their coach is telling them. Or it could be as simple as their not being able to hear the coach in practice.

That being said, there are things you can do to hasten change. Switching problematic athletes to their opposite side will force them to learn the stroke all over again. You could also assign such rowers to another coach in a lower boat, one who might be able to explain things in a way the athlete better understands. Sending athletes to a lower boat might also motivate them to make the changes they need.

From my perspective, there is no better tool than filming in getting athletes to understand a technical change. First, you will need to make sure that they are seeing what you see on the screen.  From there, you can use slow motion to compare what they are doing with the other rowers in the boat. Then have your athletes sit on the erg and manually show the exact positions you’d like to see them in during the various points of the stroke.

Simply taking the time shows that you want them to row well. If they are aware of that, they are more likely to want to come through for you.

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