The single is an excellent way of improving the skills of ‘crew scullers’, particularly their ‘boat moving’ understanding and ability. Racing the single is not for everyone and that’s fine. But for some:-

Why race? The fear of losing or making a fool of yourself is all too real. Yet the excitement of the challenge of competing, and testing yourself is a powerful drug. Sitting on the stake-boat, or waiting interminably before the start of a head race .. a common feeling is more likely, “what am I doing here, why am I putting myself through this … at this moment I’d rather be anywhere else than here.”

You win, you lose. It doesn’t matter. Of course it matters.

If you win, satisfaction for coming through the challenge and doing yourself justice. Sometimes slight disappointment, the opposition wasn’t that tough, it was no big deal.

And if you lose .. I made a mistake, I blew it, I won’t do that again. Or .. I know what the gap is now. I need to improve my technique, learn how to steer, train harder. I know what I need to work on. It’s another experience under the belt.

But it’s lonely, and you need to develop lots of skills, composure, and mental resilience. At some level you have to want to put yourself on the line, knowing it’s down to you, there’s no-one else to blame, (apart from the starter, the umpire, the conditions …) So a racing programme – of course we test ourselves against each other, but it’s also good having company on the water, so that when it comes to race day we’re rooting for each other, shouting for each other. A support group of cussed single scullers!

Advanced/racing programmes will vary depending on the level & experience of the single scullers, from those training for their first race to hardened racers looking for marginal gains. These are some of the components of a racing programme:-

  • time trial to identify benchmark and target time
  • video analysis to identify technical improvement priorities for speed
  • drills to hone technique
  • steady state paddling for ‘distance per stroke’ improvement
  • ‘battle paddling’; lead and chase; leapfrog paddling/sprinting
  • steering practice for straight buoyed courses and difficult courses
  • rating increases, up 2, up 2
  • racing starts and transitions
  • 1k race plan; head course race plan
  • developing mental toughness/resilience
  • mini regatta