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Rig Up Your Life Lesson 4: WHO SHOULD RIG

“Who should rig your rowing equipment?”

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Over the past few lessons we've discussed quite a few items. Now its time for a critical question. Let us ask you this,

Who should rig your rowing equipment?

The simple answer to that simple question would be,


A simple answer, yes. But maybe not the best answer.

Let's look at it from this perspective. When your car is broken, who should fix it? Twenty, thirty, fifty years ago the answer was, you, the person who owned the car.  Cars were simple enough, and many people had the time, desire, and energy to fix a car when it broke down.

Things are different now.

Cars are as complex as many computers, heck, they even contain computers. And people are usually too busy, too stressed, or too tired to try to fix a car even if they could figure it out.

Well, the same sort of thing is happening to rigging and rowing equipment. A lot of equipment is becoming more and more complex. Just look at oars today — adjustable handles with a multitude of blade shapes and handle sizes to choose from. And most rowers/coaches are too busy, stressed, or tired to take on the task of rigging.

That doesn't mean that NO ONE should do it. There is rigging that still should be done.

Unfortunately, one thing we've noticed happening more and more frequently in the world of rowing is that a lot of important rigging isn't getting done. Or is only done only at those clubs well-off-enough to hire a full time boat person.

Boats are degrading well before they should for lack of attention. Athletes are rowing with poorly rigged equipment, and are getting hurt needlessly. And equipment is traveling on our highways often in an unsafe manner.

We understand why this happens, but it shouldn't be. Because the benefits of rigging well are worth the time and effort (especially the safety benefit)., and the down-side of poor rigging is sometimes a heavy price.

So, now, back to the question of the day,

Who should rig your rowing equipment?

We come back to the answer of you again but with this perspective. If you cannot rig your equipment, be responsible enough to make sure it gets done, by someone.

In school and university programmes the task of rigging usually falls upon one of the coaches, or a designated Rigger or Boatman (oftentimes a parent). This situation works well because athletes tend not to have the knowledge, experience or objectivity to rig correctly; although we've seen one or two rowers who were wizards at rigging.

Once you get outside a well-organized programme it's not so clear-cut who does the rigging, but like we said, it still has to get done.

In a situation like this have the same people always do the rigging to ensure consistency — that is, if they can do a good job. In club programmes, work schedules can cause big problems and it is often very hard to get rigging, especially good rigging, done. But it still needs to be done.

Consider appointing a rigging coordinator at your club– someone who will be in charge of getting the rigging done.

Regardless of whoever ends up doing your rigging, they need to have three things: a dose of common sense, a willingness to learn and conscientiousness in their work.

And remember, it needs to get done.

Well . . . that's today's lesson. As promised, short but important.

Lesson 5 is on When You Should Rig. See you then.

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

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