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Mind games on the ergo

A few days ago I posted a blog about Why are people scared of the ergometer? As a … read more

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A few days ago I posted a blog about Why are people scared of the ergometer? As a postscript I put a link to an excellent piece from Mahé Drysdale which looked at ergophobia from the point of view of a very fast sculler and erg rower.
Towards the end of the piece I asked ‘And what can I do to help those who are?’My piece talked about a plan I had for the next test due from a reluctant and honest athlete. The plan was to cover up most of the monitor and leave just the time and rating rubriks showing. We did this last night. The other athletes set their monitors as usual but for the worried one I set the monitor to eight minutes and counting down, and then taped over most of the screen. The instructions to the athlete were clear and firm ‘An eight minute piece at rate 28 plus, full power’.

a href=””> The dreaded teller of the truth

The test unrolled as usual, most of the athletes were around the expected score which was pleasing. The guinea pig finished well and the time was good.

(For German speakers guinea pig is equivalent to Versuchskaninchen)

Talking afterwards our hunch was supported by the experience of the athlete. Not seeing the speed, and not having to deal with the inevitable slow down in the middle of the test, made life much easier. Setting the clock to a time and demanding a rating seemed to make the test more like a familiar water work out and thus much more easily faced and dealt with.

So; a success, and a step in the right direction. In the short term a happier and more confident athlete, also a happier coach because the rower has fulfilled my requirement that all those who wish to be considered for the eight must complete an erg test.

So; for the next test should we try removing the tape or stay with what we know works? And what next? Blinkers in a race? I know I have been tempted to try this!


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