Head race – debrief and forward plan

Man in single scull on river, facing camera from stern of yellow boat

You’ve done the race. What happened? How to decide what could be improved. And what to do about it.


03:00 What we can do to improve our head race performance, Race review – what happened in the race. Look beyond just the race course. Consider the 24 hours beforehand, what you did well to prepare for the race. 10 things you did really well so you can repeat that in another competition. What could have been better?

05:00 Review photos and video of your crew and race – ask friends and family to share. How did you steer every corner? What made you anxious or frightened? When we came close to another crew people turned their heads to look, someone yelled, we lost our rhythm and balance.

Good race results come from many small gains.

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08:00 What to do about it?

When someone not so good happens ask yourself – Could I have anticipated this? – What you could have done to change it – What are the unexpected things that happened to your crew? – Have a response that you’ve thought about for these situations.

10:00 Write down the things you did well and the things you need to improve.

Think through scenarios – Marlene’s sculler lost his oars because someone took them by mistake.

Being well-rested helps your concentration and focus. You will make better decisions and maintain your focus if you’re rested. Focus is key.

11:50 Talk to other people.

Hear what happened to them, what they did to respond to situations. Learn from their experience. Use pens on a table to illustrate where crews were positioned and how they moved as the situation developed. This helps give you a visual memory of the situation.

14:00 Mentally you can practice putting bad strokes behind you and not worrying about them. Focus on the upcoming strokes, not what has passed. Train yourself to stop thinking about what was bad.

Couching something in negative terms “don’t do this” gives worse outcomes than using positive terminology “do this”.

As you become a better competitor you learn how to recover from bad strokes better. Know what you need to do in order to refocus and get your head back in the boat.

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Guidance on adjusting training to align with your race dates

Hello again Reader
Across the world there are events at different times of year. When Marlene and I started this business we researched the major events for masters rowers in English-speaking countries. We designed the training programmes to cater for the majority using our standard training plans. Sometimes, these don’t exactly align with races you want to do.
We got this question from Michael
Do you by any chance have a training program for a single sculler taking part in a 16km head race?…