Some do’s and don’ts for when you’re in a training boat
By Sarah Gosling
When I was first selected for a crew, I was pulled aside by a kind, experienced BGC member. She explained that there are a few ‘unwritten rules’ that, if followed, allow your rowing sessions to run smoothly and without risk of upsetting anyone else. I thought it might be nice to pass them on to other rowers reading this blog. I hope they help you achieve perfect crew zen in your training sessions :-)
- Listen to the cox - they can see a lot more from their position than you can, and have an important job in keeping you and the gig out of harm’s way. Always stay attentive to their instructions, particularly when launching and coming back into land.
- Only stop rowing if you are told to do so - if you need to move your stretcher/seat, take off your coat, need a drink etc., just shout down the boat to your cox and they will usually organise a quick break so you can readjust. Don’t just stop rowing without saying anything. It tends to throw the smoothness and timing of the whole crew whilst alarming the cox (something must be terribly wrong if you have had to suddenly stop rowing!) and maybe skewing the boat round at a vital moment...
- Stay quiet during training pieces - there is nothing more off-putting to a cox or other rowers than 2 rowers having a conversation in the bow. Save conversations for rest periods and before/after your session.
- Only drink water during rest breaks - this is a controversial one, but also something that can really upset people. If stroke side are working hard to pull a boat round a turn, bow side rowers should look attentive and ready to come back in at any time as a courtesy and out of respect for the effort the stroke side rowers are putting in. Similarly, in drills where some crew members are rowing whilst others are sitting out, the resting rowers should not be drinking water and having a break, but instead watching to gain tips and lessons from those currently rowing. Make sure you show support and respect for your crew. Always arrive well hydrated.
- Don’t worry if you make a mistake - there will be sessions where everything seems to go wrong, but take these as ‘off days’ and move on. Deal with issues one at a time, and don’t worry if changing one thing makes everything else fall apart- no one else will mind. Eventually it’ll all come together.
- Stay positive and supportive of others - you are literally all in the same boat. If someone is rowing particularly well, compliment them. If they are having a hard time of it, try not to get annoyed with them as they smack you in the back for the 20th time. A happy boat usually leads to a well rowed boat, so try to keep patient and work on your own technique.
- Keep your focus in the boat - Rowing as a crew means that you have a responsibility to other rowers around you. When your big power puddles fade as you rearrange your hair (yes boys do this too!) or try to get a look at what the men/women’s A crew are up to, the rest of your crew will have to put more power in to make up for it. Share the load by keeping your focus purely on your oar and the current drill.