Ready, Row! USA #28: Back-to-School Edition

 In Ready Row USA

Welcome to the 28th episode of Ready, Row! USA, where we’ll be discussing all levels of “Back To School.” No matter our age or skill level, at summer’s end, most of us are transitioning back to life as usual, coming off camps and tours like Calm Waters, Craftsbury, All-American, Rowing The World, SteeringURight; or we’re in the midst of pre-season collegiate training. In this episode, we review the summer’s best and explore what happens from now into fall; and is it too early to plan for winter camps in the warmer climes? (Not at all; they fill up fast!)

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  • Tara – What is your September “back-to-school” transition? Did you go to a summer or winter rowing camp this year? Commune with fellow rowers, change of coach/scenery, review the “nuggets” you brought back.
  • Charlotte: Camps in the southern states are a shot in the arm amid a cold New England winter. Review your notes from coaching sessions (you do take them, right??). One epiphany I remember from Vee Platzer’s mini-camp this summer at CRI: “Bungee cord to the belly button.” (There! I wrote it down!) During holiday and vacation travel, consider other activities in the area you’ll be visiting – especially for non-rowing spouses or offspring.
  • Ryan – Going to camp or creating your own camp is like your own “spring training” inspired by our collegiate counterparts. Collegiate rowers and their families are heavy into the back-to-school scene through the next couple of weeks. In this episode, I also suggest some strategies for parents (of future masters!) trying to support and encourage walk-ons and other new rowers in the family.
  • Mark: For fall head races, go to a new regatta, make new friends, keep your rowing fresh! For Masters looking to participate in fall head races, you do not have to think that you will win to go. Go to events, meet people, see how different events are run and supported and that will bring ideas to your club or your own rowing.  Enjoy being outside in the fall, getting on the water and seeing new things. If you happen to get a medal, great! but don’t make it your purpose for going to the races.
  • All: Some of the camps we covered for winter: Pocock Rowing goes to the Bahamas (and take in some Coastal Rowing while you’re there!); AARC in Deland Florida (and they’ll travel to your own rowing club); Florida Rowing Center; and the venerable camp that launched so many masters rowers – Craftsbury. While traveling in Arizona, Texas, California, Louisiana, Virginia, and other southern states, google “rowing clubs” and call ‘em up – and let us know your experience!

“IN THE BOOTH” – random rowing advice from your hosts and producers

  • Tip from Tara: Coaches and clubs, transition your Learn-to-Row students effectively to masters this season. Consistency, connection, and open communication are critical factors. Listen to them. Give them opportunities, not restrictions.
  • Mark, My Words: Rest assured, what you did this summer will help you for the fall. To get ready for October head racing, good miles are more important than ever now. To repeat, GOOD MILES. Set a rowing/training schedule that promotes you to work on distance-per-stroke and power-per-stroke to increase efficiency per watt expended; of particular value for the longer head races where you need to ration energy. Work at various rates and look at actual speed. You may be more effective if you think about power rather than stroke rating. If you are competing in a new race or on a new course, review the map, then set up the course in your mind to help you get around the corners and through the tough spots more easily. Your boat turns differently at race pace than at training pace. Practice turning your boat! and remember how and when is important. You won’t be on a straight 1K with buoys.
  • Ryan’s Worth: If your offspring is a walk-on at college or high school, there are some good strategies on how to encourage their interest during the critical “learning curve.”
  • Charlotte’s Catch: Always set out on a row with a goal, however modest: connected stroke, bungee to the belly button, building meters per stroke, clean catch & quiet finish, personal best 2K (with good form!). Lather, rinse, repeat! And send me your coaching book proposal!


  • SPONSORS – our regular sponsors are great companies: Oar Inspired action camera mount, Rose and Thorne active bras, and Faster Masters. Please use their stuff so we can keep podcasting!
  •  Episode Hashtag: Use the hashtag #RRUSABacktoSchool on social media to win rowing gear & services!
  • Upcoming Topics: Coach’s Toolbox 9/4, Head Racing Preview 9/11, Gadgets & Gear Spotlight, Club News Spotlight
  • It’s Your Show! Submit your Club News and favorite Gadgets & Gear! Let us know if you’d like to come on the show and showcase your rowing club or demonstrate your gadget (contact us for tech requirements). No club is too small, too new, or too old; no gadget too cheap or too elaborate! Here are our selections for this week:


highlights for this episode:


submit your own!


The producer of Ready, Row! USA is Charlotte Pierce; associate producer is Tara Morgan of Seize the Oar and Vashon Is. RC. Our senior correspondent is Mark Wilson, joined by correspondents Ryan Worth of UT/Chattanooga Rowing and Alison Pollini of Carnegie Lake. Our executive producer is Rebecca Caroe of Rowing.Chat
READY ROW! USA is also brought to you by the companies represented by our crew: Charlotte’s Pierce Press; Mark’s All-American Rowing Camp; Tara’s Seize the Oar Foundation; and Ryan’s UT/Chattanooga Rowing Team.

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