There is a lot of vital information below, so please read, read and read again.
As we approach the transition to the on-water season, there are some useful tips to help you cope. We STRONGLY urge you to follow these, otherwise you will struggle mightily.
If you have not done so, please consult with your parents and doctor and get your iron levels checked. Young female athletes especially, are prone to low levels of iron, and this can really hurt your performance, your crew’s performance, your energy levels and your enjoyment of the sport.
MOST IMPORTANT about the on-water season is that you have to ORGANIZE your time and MANAGE it well. Your alarms will be going off at 4:30am. We arrive at the club at 5:10 and the goal is to be pushing off the dock at 5:30. People admire rowers for the mental toughness required to do what you are doing. Be the person that people admire, just not for DOING it, but for EXCELLING at it!!!
When you get to the club, here is what to expect daily. Please memorize this and make it your routine.
1. Arrival at 5:10am. Don’t be late. This is not “Valet Rowing” where one saunters in at 5:29 and puts their hands directly on the boat!
2. Half the crew sets up coach boat with engine, barrel of lifejackets, blankets, paddle, bailer, the CORRECT gas tank and hose, and REMEMBER THE PLUG!!. Push boat in water and TIE IT UP!!!!
3. Other half of the crew brings oars/sculls to outside part of ramp and places them in such a way they aren’t blocking access to the docks.
4. Get belt lifejackets.
5. Gather by your boat and wait for coxie.
6. Once coxie says “hands on the boat”, there will be NO TALKING UNTIL THE END OF PRACTICE UNLESS REQUIRED. “Required talking” includes the following: If you see a rigger is going to hit another rigger, if you see your fin is going to hit the dock, if you anticipate something bad is about to happen, shout “STOP”. If a coach or coxie asks you a question, you can answer.
7. The boat will be put on stretchers before the row. Coxwains need to have two 7/16ths wrenches and an adjustable wrench, and carry them in the boat for each practice. They will share the duty of checking ALL nuts and bolts with the stroke seat and the bow seat of every boat. The cox and stroke seat will check all the nuts and wingnuts to make sure they are tight, and the bow seat will check all the big nuts underneath the gate (I will show you these). Every rower will check their own footplate wingnuts and slide wingnuts. We will show you how to do this on Day One. Consequences to not checking can mean broken equipment/lost time/ergs/squat jumps. Once checked, the boat is carried to the water. We aim to be doing this just before 5:30 eventually.
8. Once the hull hits the water, you have 45 seconds to get your oars in and launch. (we will be a bit lenient on this for day one, but move quickly and efficiently). Remember, there will be about 20 other crews trying to launch at the same time. Not moving fast, chatting, standing around will all (rightly) draw the ire of other rowers and other coaches.
9. Once on the water, there will be no talking in the boat, unless required. Coaches are focused on coaching and rowers are focused on learning. Extraneous noise detracts from these goals.
10. When coming off the water (around 7:10), the reverse will happen. Again, remember there are a number of boats coming off at the same time, so be quick, careful, and efficient. You don’t want to do things TOO fast to the point of being careless or missing a step, but be quick and thoughtful:
–oars come out of the boat and placed where they went before the row;
–boat is lifted out of the water carefully, placed on stretchers, and towelled off. Half the crew towels off, the other half puts the oars away.
–boat is placed CAREFULLY back on the rack.
–Coach boat, engine, lifejackets, blankets, paddle, gas tank are all put away. If you are the last to do so, shut the oar bay doors, lock the gas tank shed and close the compound gate.
–5-10 minute chat with the coach.
–“Goodbye, have a GREAT day” will happen between 7:30AM and 7:40AM.
OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS
If your alarm is going off at 4:30, you will perform best by being in bed by 8:30. Most are unable to achieve that bed time, but you will need to be relatively close to that. This means getting your homework done in your lunch hour, on your recess breaks, or immediately after school, because if you wait until after supper, you’ll be tired. Instead of having that conversation, instead of screen time, snapchat time, TV time, get done what needs to be done, especially during the hours of the day you feel energetic, which is usually after rowing. Get it done as early as you can. BE DISCIPLINED and limit the things that are holding you back from sleep. You CAN handle it!
Eat WELL, eat lots and stay away from junk food.
Remember that everything you do in the spring has an effect on your crew. If you are late to practice, your crew and the other crews assigned to your coach lose water time. If you eat junk food or eat poorly, the effects of that will impact your crew’s performance. Every crew is its own little team. Rowing, moreso than any other sport, knows the truth of there being no “I” in team. One person alone cannot lift a team to victory, but one person alone can easily topple a team. It is YOUR crew. It is YOUR boat. The decisions YOU make will impact others, so let’s be thinking like a TEAM from the moment we hit the water!
We’re proud of the work you’ve put in to earn your spot in your crew. The on-water season is what everyone loves about this sport because you now get to see how far your winter work has brought you. Enjoy every minute, and may Westdale ALWAYS have the fastest water!