Fitness Magazine

What to Do When You’re the Weakling in the Crew

By Girlontheriver @girlontheriver
Yup, that's pretty much me...

Yup, that’s pretty much me…

As we head towards the highlight of our rowing year, the British Masters Champs (better known as Nat Vets), I have found myself in a regular crew. Which is great – really, really great – except for one thing. I am, without doubt, the weakling of the crew. I’m not even allowing myself to think about the difference in our erg scores. Suffice to say that there’s probably a good 20 seconds’ difference in our splits. Sigh.

Now I’m sure I can’t be alone in this predicament, so here are my tips for what to do if you find yourself the weedy one in a crew of Amazons.

1. Stick to the plan

Use them. They work.

Use them. They work.

If you have a training plan, keep to it. You won’t turn yourself into the Incredible Hulk overnight, but the least you can do is to let your crew see you’re  working on your strength and fitness. I’ve been hitting the gym and yeah, everything hurts, but I figure it gives me the best chance of pulling my (frustratingly light) weight.

2. Work on your technique

It’s not rocket science. If you can row smoothly and keep a good length and rhythm, you have something worthwhile to add to a crew. So you might not have great power in the water, but you can make up for it on the slide. Ask for criticism (I know it hurts to be told – I’m as needy for praise as the next person) but you will only get better if you know where your weaknesses lie. When you’re in the boat, focus, listen and keep it neat.

3. Be nice to people

That pretty much sums it up

That pretty much sums it up

If you’re nice to people, they’ll like rowing with you even if you’re not the strongest. So a bad outing can be demoralising and we all have our good and bad days, but try to stay positive. Don’t whine, moan, bitch or criticize and even if you don’t have a naturally sunny disposition, make an effort to be cheerful.

4. Bring cake

Everybody loves cake...

Everybody loves cake…

This is last resort territory and I confess I haven’t had to rely on it … yet… but most rowers can be won over by cake.

5. Relax

What?

What?

Chill. Seriously, it’s just rowing. Somebody had enough faith in you to put you in a crew, so just go with it. What’s the worst that could happen? Actually, don’t answer that. Just relax.

So… all I have to do now is follow my own advice. Wish me luck.


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