the race start sequence

race starts 18may14

the race start sequence is an exercise that both my rowing & dragon boat teams practice well before a racing event / our first sprint race is on june 7 & the start was what we did today for our indoor practice in the tank & on the erg <we were indoors because the waterflow on the allegheny river was 66 kcfs + there was a lot of debris, seen & unseen, on the river that can do serious damage to the boats> \ googling the topic, i found that there are a number of variations that rowing coaches favor such as:  3/4, 1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full;   3/4, 1/2, 3/4, full;   1/2, 1/2, 3/4, full;    3/4, 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, full; and … is this a joke?  full, half, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8, full <apparently not, this was reported by a lightweight rower> \ based on their experience, coaches select the sequence that provides the quickest start

starts are powerful strokes <high spm> that jumpstarts the shell or dragon boat \ it typically consists of 5 strokes followed by power 10s or 20s until the cox or db steerer calls to “settle” or “lengthen” / a good start cannot win a race but a bad start can lose a race \ probably more important is the “settle” which is getting into race pace after the start sequence / this is the sustainable speed & ratio that the boat carries through most of the race punctuated only by the cox or steerer’s call for “power” or “focus” 10s & 20s <in my db team, also called “heroic measures” 🙂 > and finally the “finish” or the really heroic sprint to the finish line

though the finish of the race may look like the most exciting part for rowers, paddlers & spectators, i think there is a greater benefit in mastering a good start than a good finish \ first, there is a great psychological boost when a boat has a successful start <in dragon boat, our coach tells us how much distance a good (or bad start) covers; take that as a fraction of the entire race distance (500 meters for dragon boat sprints) puts the value of a start in context> / second, the start sequence gets everyone in synch quickly before race pace | i personally find it easier to be in time with short strokes and so by the time we are about to “lengthen,” i am mentally prepared to do so \ a strong start & race pace on a good ratio both set up for a strong finish / thanks, coach, for a wonderful rowing practice today!


TDMM’s race start sequence is as follows:  

1) 5 strokes:      3/4 ,   1/2,    3/4,   90%,  full slide but not total body swing

2) 20 strokes still at high spm & full slide but not total body swing

3)  in prep for race pace or settling which is at full slide & total body swing, cox says “1, 2”;  recovery on “2”

4)  settle or race pace


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