Dear New Rowers,
Thank you for starting this wonderful sport. Unlike other people, you are a real athlete. “Real athletes row, others just play games.” If you started the sport just out of curiosity–as most people do, you aren’t the only one. It takes every kind of toughness to excel at this sport, but not a whole lot of “talent”. So even if you are good with your hands or great with your feet, don’t think for a second you are ahead.
I started just because the sport sounded cool but most people don’t understand that it is a lot more difficult than it looks. When you first hop into a boat, rowing will be a huge struggle: staying in time, crashing the slide, getting fatigued, missing water, catching crabs (getting your oar under someone else’s). Not only that, but you have to deal with the toughness of rowing itself. To be honest it’s a very poor reward for not screwing up anything else in the first place.
The sport itself mostly focuses on toughness itself: mental, physical, emotional. Being tough is key, controlling (or unleashing in the first place) your killer instinct so that the boat goes along fluidly shows emotional strength; pulling with all your might and never faltering or missing a beat shows mental strength; and obviously the boat won’t pull itself, so you need to be physically strong to actually move the boat in the first place.
It is important to not be discouraged by these dreadful odds; “Confidence is key” really comes into play here. The rower most willing to put their best foot forward regardless of the crazy conditions is most often the faster one. The sport requires talent though: “…Because part of what we talk about is, toughness is a talent.”- Dan Quinn.