The six inches between your ears controls the six feet below it. Developing your mental strength is just as important as developing your physical strength. Here’s how you can put principles of sport psychology to work for you in rowing.
This is an element of rowing culture that has outright negative physical and mental performance consequences and is 100% controllable by the individual. Coaching education and a cultural shift in rowing away from glorifying the negative parts of the sport are necessary to fully eradicating erg fear at the root, but that is a slow path. This article is for the individual rower who acknowledges his or her fear of the erg and wants to move past it for more productive training and a happier and more balanced mental state. The remainder of this article is based on the premise that erg-fear is a real phenomenon exhibited by many rowers and that this fear is not to be derided, shamed, or celebrated through social media hashtags—it is to be overcome.
Often lost in the excitement of the final races, championship qualifiers, and preparing for the culmination of another season is the realization that, for the tens of thousands of athletes graduating from high school or college and not continuing sport, this is it. While many rowers will no doubt look forward to sleeping in, no more 2k tests, and a life beyond spandex, many will struggle to adjust to a life that does not revolve around athletics and athletic performance. All sports have unique cultures and forge strong bonds between teammates, and many will not find the close relationships that existed between teammates in work, school, or future life.
Joined by guest Sara Hendershot-Lombardi, Blake and Joe and I talked sport psychology for rowing for over 90 minutes. Tune in for why mental skills can help your training and racing, a mental skills action plan, and tips for recovering from injury, plus the advice of an experienced Olympian.