Racing Info 101

Race Info 101

As an inclusive program that does not cut athletes, it is the goal of the coaching staff to race all athletes who wish to participate. In the fall, racing opportunities are long distances while in the spring racing opportunities are shorter sprint distances. For this reason, in the fall coaching is focused on technique and fitness development, while in the spring coaching is focused on preparing the team as a whole for the State Championship. Because Plant Crew seeks to develop all of our members into the best athletes they can become, it is the goal of the coaches to race as many boats as can race safely and competitively. Plant Crew continuously strives for higher achievement in competitive rowing. 

Regattas are unlike any other sport competition. They are ALL DAY events that require the cooperation of all rowers and their families. Because of the immense amount of pre-planning, organization, and logistics required to make sure these events run smoothly, the coaches ask for the following commitments from both rowers and their families. Honoring these commitments ensures that regattas run smoothly and are a positive experience for the entire program.

  1. Informing coaches immediately if the athlete cannot attend a race due to schedule conflicts. 

  2. Completing all regatta race waivers in a timely manner (there are several forms throughout the year). 

  3. Assisting regatta volunteer committees by getting involved in event organization (there are many fun jobs!). 

  4. Arriving early for all race events and staying until regatta awards are given to the winning team(s). ‘Regatta Information Sheets’ will be emailed prior to each race and will contain information regarding venue, location, race schedule and what to bring.

Boat Selection
Boat selection refers to the process of creating boats of athletes that will race at regattas. We focus on teaching competition, leadership, sportsmanship and compassion, and in turn, we look for those qualities to quickly emerge from our athletes.

What are the coaches looking for during boat selections?
Size to strength ratio, technical ability, coach-ability, competitiveness, positive “I can do it”/“I will try it” attitude, confidence, sportsmanship, team player mentality, and general athletic potential.

How will the coaches look for these traits?

  • Erg Testing/Fitness Assessments
    Times and power output recorded on erg tests indicate an athlete’s physical fitness and mental resolve. Every rower on the planet has at one time or another said, “I row harder on the water, I just can’t do it on the erg.” Well, yes you can and you will have to! In the Fall coaches will test athlete fitness using 5k or 6k, 10 minute power, and long distance erg pieces. In the Spring coaches will test athlete fitness using 2k, 10 minute power, and short distance erg pieces. Fitness assessments including running, body circuits, weighted circuits, etc. are also used as an indicator of athlete fitness. 

  • Seat Racing
    The process of switching rowers and evaluating the results is known as seat racing. Seat racing tests an athlete’s boat moving abilities. Seat racing is used at each coach’s discretion.

  • Technique 
    Good technique and pulling hard are separate skills. Similar to golf, technique is important in rowing in order to be effective. Coaches and athletes spend hours logging miles and doing drills simply to make you a better technical rower. Everybody selected to the top boats must row well, so though you will not make a boat only due to good rowing, you may lose your seat if you don’t row well enough. 

  • Attitude, Work Ethic, Competitiveness​
    We look for drive, effort, intensity, desire, and humility. We want you to be a team player, to support, encourage and push your teammates. We want you to react well to difficult situations and work with your team to resolve them. We do not do drama and will not allow the team to be affected by individual issues. We want you to try hard, to work hard and to improve a little bit every day. We want you to love to race, to love to compete, and to embrace sportsmanship in doing so. We expect these traits to emerge from everyone and it will affect your boat placement in time.

We use all of this information to make our decisions. We don’t select a boat just because you have a great erg score, or just because you won a seat race, or just because you have a great attitude. You need to be good at everything…yes stronger at some things than others, but you have to have it all. Work on your weaknesses and you’ll be on your way. Selection takes time and is ever changing as athletes improve or stop improving over the course of the year. 

In the end, boat selection is not a hard formula. Coaches use their best judgment to make the fastest boats. Questions about boat placement should be communicated between athletes and coaches. The coaches will set boat line-ups and coaches’ decisions are final.

How are coxswains selected?
For coxswains, selection is based on six primary factors: seat racing, technical calls, motivational calls, tactical calls, steering, and leadership ability. The coaches evaluate these skills during practice and through paper and pencil rower evaluations.


Can I play another sport?
We allow athletes to participate in a Fall sport for Plant. If you plan on playing a Fall sport, please contact the coach prior to the beginning of the season to let them know of your intentions to come to the team at a later date. Athletes need to come to rowing immediately following the conclusion of their Fall season sport. The same applies for other school activities such as Band or Chorus. 


For Parents: Supporting your athlete and coach during selections and the season
Our goal is to make this a respectful, positive and honest sports experience. Honesty can be hard to take sometimes, but it is the best way for us to develop a competitive program. 

What parents can do to support their student-athlete throughout the season:

  • Be honest. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. This is an opportunity to teach them how to improve on their weaknesses while succeeding at their strengths. Try to help them realize that just counting on their strengths and turning their back on the weaknesses won’t help them be better.

  • Share your sports experience with them. Have you been part of a team?

  • Remind them that coaches respond to athletes who are present, attentive and participating. It shows that they are eager to learn.

  • Talk with your son/daughter about being an athlete. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What qualities does an athlete bring to a team?

  • Stress the fun parts. “Just go out and have fun and show them what you can do”.

  • Offer encouragement when it is hard; help them feel good about themselves.

  • Let them know that no one thing is going to put them into a specific lineup, and no one thing will take them out of a specific lineup.

  • Support your son/daughter, but also support the coach. We will be honest about what we see. Please encourage your athlete to talk to the coach in a friendly way when asking what he/she is thinking, and why she/he has made a decision. We don’t play favorites, but we are looking for a team that will be successful.

We can make your son/daughter a stronger, fitter, better technical rower, but we can’t make him/her want it. We are looking for athletes who are team players and understand that the team comes first. This is a demanding, yet highly rewarding, sport and the athletes won’t enjoy it without the passion to want to be their best.