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Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 12:39 am
by karolina.newgard
Hi! I'm a 6'5" female junior rower.

I've been rowing for about 16 months and overall, I really love the sport. However, I'm struggling to row at the same rhythm as my much shorter teammate and am looking for advice. Nearly everyone I row with is under 5'5". As such, it's really hard for me to complete the drive in the same amount of time that they do. Every day at practice, I start off rowing at their rhythm with adequate technique, but this causes me to fly and die really fast (especially at high rates). Eventually, I get too fatigued to keep it up and either stop leaning my body backwards/forwards, finish before I've brought my hands all the way in, or finish after everyone else and recover really fast. When I do any of these things, my coaches correct me, I fly and die again, and the cycle repeats itself. I've asked my coaches about this, but their advice is always to erg more outside of practice or just wait, and as someone who is routinely on the worst or second worst out of 3-4 eights because my wacky rhythm messes up boats, I'm not really a priority. I'm already doing around 20k of erg stuff along with practice five times a week, and have the 4th best 2k on my team (a 1:58, but my stamina is really terrible and my 5k is only a 2:11). As we get farther into the spring season, my teammates are getting more powerful and this is only getting worse. I really want to be at least a decent rower, but I can't seem to get in sync with my shorter teammates. What should I do?

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 1:23 am
by jamesg
Get yourself either a 1x or find a crew (double or quad) with roughly your height. Height in rowing determines the length of the stroke, and this has to be the same in a crew. Afloat it will decide the size of the boat as well as seat height and rigging in general.

In the meantime train well on the erg, style included. If possible a dynamic type or on slides. This so you can demonstrate that your height, if you're allowed to use it, is a major advantage.

There are other team sports where height and a variety of skills are both needed. Not hard to think of some that will want you on their books. Not to mention individual sports within teams, such as athletics, swimming and kayak.

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 11:30 am
by Cyclist2
My daughter was just the opposite - shorter than the rest of the women. She overcame that, to a certain extent, by being so strong that they couldn't ignore her. They even put her in the stroke position at times, so everyone would have to follow her. It was hard for her, though.

You can't change your height, but you can keep getting stronger, and showing the coaches your positive attitude. Ask if they can adjust the rigging (spread, oar length, inboard) to some degree to accommodate the height differences.

As jamesg suggested, if possible find a compatible partner for a double or pair and you'll really have some fun with it.

Best of luck to you!

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 12:00 pm
by bisqeet
OTW:
a) go 1x
b)train with a mens team
c) ask to go stroke ;)

Indoor:
20k is a little on the lowside for building up endurance. and it sounds as tho this is your achiles at the moment.

You need to build up your endurance and strength and most of all, dont let it get you down!

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 7th, 2020, 1:22 pm
by Dino
karolina.newgard wrote:
February 7th, 2020, 12:39 am
Hi! I'm a 6'5" female junior rower.

I've been rowing for about 16 months and overall, I really love the sport. However, I'm struggling to row at the same rhythm as my much shorter teammate and am looking for advice. Nearly everyone I row with is under 5'5". As such, it's really hard for me to complete the drive in the same amount of time that they do. Every day at practice, I start off rowing at their rhythm with adequate technique, but this causes me to fly and die really fast (especially at high rates). Eventually, I get too fatigued to keep it up and either stop leaning my body backwards/forwards, finish before I've brought my hands all the way in, or finish after everyone else and recover really fast. When I do any of these things, my coaches correct me, I fly and die again, and the cycle repeats itself. I've asked my coaches about this, but their advice is always to erg more outside of practice or just wait, and as someone who is routinely on the worst or second worst out of 3-4 eights because my wacky rhythm messes up boats, I'm not really a priority. I'm already doing around 20k of erg stuff along with practice five times a week, and have the 4th best 2k on my team (a 1:58, but my stamina is really terrible and my 5k is only a 2:11). As we get farther into the spring season, my teammates are getting more powerful and this is only getting worse. I really want to be at least a decent rower, but I can't seem to get in sync with my shorter teammates. What should I do?

Its a tricky one... I am only a sometime recreational rower but its usually in a mixed crew with a variety of heights and mixed abilities.
Someone else has suggested going stroke. I don't find this helps... Its fine for me, but the rest of the crew tend to struggle and I find myself having shorten up my stroke.... if I do my own thing, it tends to end up in a pile up behind me!

I take it you are talking rowing as opposed to sculling? Sculling I think is a bit easier as if you have the levers to pull harder and longer you arent going to possibly put more pressure on one side. If you want to maximise your normal stroke length, the they would have to alter the rigging to move your pivot more outboard and then also change your oar to give longer inboard. This would give the same length in the water for your longer stroke in the boat, but I cant see that happening unless you are in the #1 crew and have dedicated boat and position.

I usually end up shortening my stroke, either not going to front full slide and sitting more upright at the finish, but still maximising the pull best I can. If you are full stroke you are going to have to pull harder and slide forward quicker to move the oar a greater distance through the water in the same time. This shouldnt upset the boat too much but goes without saying the catch and release must be exactly timed with the rest of the crew.

I would concentrate on your land side / erging and improving your times inc. 5k so they cant ignore you!! they will realise your potential and make a proper effort to coach you. Either way a good club and coach should be making an effort with all the juniors.

Good luck with it.

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 14th, 2020, 3:01 pm
by Longleggedfly
I feel your pain. I am the tallest woman at my club and always struggle to finish my stroke on time. Being in stroke seat is not great either because the other rowers tend to pre empt my catch, which puts a terrible strain on my back. In a quad I have to shorten my stroke so much I might as well be knitting. In the 8+ I cut my layback. The other women only tolerate me in their boats because I have the fastest 2k time in the club. I am happiest in a single or rowing with men.

Re: Tall rower struggling to sync

Posted: February 23rd, 2020, 12:22 am
by WIghtsculler
Hi Karolina,
How is it going now with 4 months more training under your belt? You say you are a junior rower. Are you still growing? I wonder whether you have not yet gained the strength / muscles to effectively use your wonderful height. With more time in a boat, more time on an erg and appropriate strength training you will get to the point when you will be able to use your long levers effectively. The other issue might be lung capacity / cardio. I am guessing that you have come to rowing as you were struggling with / not inspired by or involved with other sports as you did not have natural ball skills or the co-ordination / body shape to be a natural at other sports. It can be difficult to deliver constant and effective power when rowing if you do not yet have the lung capacity or core strength to connect your long levers. Stick at it.