What is a ‘competitve’ rower?


Andrea Buch writes I am looking for insights:  How does your club define ‘Competitive Masters’? What does it mean to be ‘a competitor’? 

The more mature I get as an athlete, and the more athletes I encounter when I coach, the more intrigued I am by this question.

rowing competitors, south africa rowing, Photo credit: World Rowing

There has been a softening in my personal approach/abilities as an athlete in terms of my expectations for going fast, but I still love to get after it; to do whatever I can to get my bowball in front.  Even if the strength/fitness of youth is not there, I can recognize those who are ‘competitors’ in my peers and my athletes, and those are the people who I want to row with/put in top boats and fast lineups.  Hopefully they have the skill and fitness pieces too, but everyone is coming from different backgrounds. At a minimum, if you are on a ‘Competitive Team’, the desire to push yourself and the understanding of how to push yourself is foundational.

For some people it is innate, and for some it is a learned skill.

I’d love to hear insights any other coach or team has used to define ‘Competitive’ when you are dealing with a population that is so diverse age-wise (for example, my team has athletes ranging from 22 to 70), and coming from a background of various athletic experiences.  One person’s idea of being ‘a competitor’ is not always the same as another person’s.  I am not trying to invalidate another person’s experience or their effort.  I am seeking concrete words, phrases or standards that other teams have used to successfully define the mission of and membership of their team.  The desire to be on a Competitive team or be surrounded by Competitive athletes because you think you should be and that is where you want to be is very indistinct.

Alternatively, have you got insights into how you have coached or develop masters athletes to find a new level of competitiveness?

To re-define what ‘going hard’ is? Has anyone out there had any breakthroughs as a coach or an athlete?


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Rick Kranen

    I can only speak from my personal experience. My background from school boys to club level to national titles redefined in myself, what it is to be competitive with each step of the way. I really can’t say that I was competitive while I was learning to row….and those early days it was just having fun. Fun has always remained a high priority to me and unfortunately I have crossed paths with other competitors who simply were only ‘in it to win’! Sad because they leave the sport and miss the point, in my view. After more than 23 years away…I came back with a strong desire to ‘finish ‘ something I dreamed of as a young adult. So Firstly I relearn how to scull. Then I set my sights to be competitive within my club. This small success lead to bigger dreams and before I knew it….(within my first season back) I had won my National age division Championships. This goal achieved, I fell into a depressive state of mind for approximately 3 weeks. Fortunately for me, the world masters Championships came to Australia the following season and I was determined to give it my very best efforts. Sure enough, I succeeded and I realised that if I were to remain competitive I would have to continue aiming higher. So within each aspect of this sport, whether it was a short or long distance event… I continued to tick off more goals. Eventually I reached back into elite level of the sport and yes, I finally met my ceiling! I imagine you could ask any master rower and they’d say I’m highly competitive however, elite rowers would probadly say no. But throughout my campaigns…I have crossed paths with those who are content to race and never winning. But if they never entered their races, there would be no racing and no winner. So I’m grateful for them as fellow competitors but I really enjoy improving myself and that can be in so many different aspects within the sport. So for me, if I’m working on improving myself, I’m competitive.

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