This fall, rowers from Baltimore Rowing Club’s Youth Program will share their views of the sport of rowing, training, coaching, their goals, their successes, their challenges, and how rowing has influenced their lives.
Their views will be their own and in their own words. Unscripted. Unedited.
This month Anna Kaplan shares her views
Many coaches, and most recently Coach Alex, have said that rowing hard is the key to winning. And every bit of that is true. However, you can’t row hard without first learning how to row. I joined BRC at the beginning of the 2015 spring season looking for some good cross-training for basketball and a new sport to try. I started out as the only 11th grade novice and as I learned more about rowing technique, I realized how much I loved this sport. It’s physically taxing, mentally challenging, and there isn’t a moment when you aren’t focused on your form or the motion of the boat. Sounds awful, but after playing basketball and running cross-country, it’s nice to take a break from mindless practices. Your focus can waver but you can still perform well. In rowing however, your focus must be 100%.
A few weeks into my novice season, I was placed in the V2 boat for a practice. Whoa. That was an experience. Even though I only rowed with them for one day, I suddenly understood more or less what a boat should feel like. Everyone was synchronized, pushing themselves and rowing hard. I held on to that feeling and began to notice it more in the novice boat. Those moments when the whole boat was rowing hard were the moments when the boat felt weightless. In the erg room, my first 2K was under 8 minutes. Why? Because I rowed hard. I couldn’t have had a better first season, and I continued to row over the summer and learned how to scull (to the best of my ability). When school started, I was counting down the days for the fall season to start! After running cross-country for 2 years, I was ready for a change in how to cover 5000 meters.
And the fall season has delivered. Each day of practice is a new experience for me, and I love it! No matter how many times I erg or do circuits or technique drills, it’s always different. My boat might be different, my teammates might be having an awful day, we all might be sore from a previous practice. So I have learned to take each practice in stride. Take advantage of every moment and hold onto every useful piece of advice, even if it isn’t directed at you. During the novice season, I learned so much from what other people were being told rather than what was directed towards me. And this has carried over into the fall season because there are so many times when I’m having the same issue as someone else, and I’ll remember a pointer that the coach gave to that rower. Day to-day, week to week, I’m constantly focusing on different places to improve, but the one thing that I always focus on is that I’m rowing hard. Because that’s what I want to do and that’s what I love to do. There is nothing more satisfying than giving it your all for your team, knowing that they will do the same.