The Race Plan

With Discovery Day coming up, this is a good time for crews to think about their race plan. A race plan will keep the crew focused during the race and give the coxswain specific things to call during the race.

Below is an example of a race plan for the 1225m course (written for the coxswain and reviewed by all rowers).

The Start: 0-250m (start to the flag)

Complete your start: 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, full. After the first five strokes, 7-10 quick strokes, 7-10 hard strokes and 7-10 strokes to lengthen.

Remind rowers to go out of the gates hard, explode off the stretchers, but keep good control and timing. After the start focus on length, power, and rhythm.

The next minute or so (approximately 250m)

Find the rhythm and maintain boat speed. Concentration is key here. Complete calls such as the following to keep the crew focused:

  • 5 to focus on hands away and swinging together – “hands away together”
  • 5 to focus on quick clean catches
  • 5 to focus on a powerful drive
  • 5 to focus on long, strong finishes

Get ready for the turn

When you are about 125m from the turn, ask the rowers to pick it up with the legs.

When you are ready to turn, call “rudder is on.” Rowers should row hard into the turn – it should take 8-10 strokes to get to the keg.

Complete the turn (usually 6-10 strokes to turn, 6-10 strokes to pick it up together)

Pick up speed out of the turn

When the boat is straight, call something like “power 10” to get the boat moving.

Remind rowers to control their breathing and their body and push through these few hundred meters. Keep the focus on smooth controlled recoveries and powerful drives.

Then, find the rhythm again.

The last 250 (from the marquee to the finish)

At the 250 mark, call “10 hard”. Stay long; don’t shorten your stroke as you bring the stroke rate up.

The finish – the last 20 strokes – hammer time – sprint. This is it.

Remind rowers to use the legs. When they try to row faster, there is a tendency to row with the upper body and arms. It won’t work. The upper body muscles are no match for the legs. Keep pushing with the legs.

Make it fly!

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