Injuries, like mine, are far too common in the sport of rowing. Yet the biggest issue is that these rates are accepted as normal in the sport. Every season athletes get injured and not much effort seems to be put into avoiding these injuries. As Mike Boyle has said, coaches treat the sport as a "survival of the best bone and connective tissue contest, a twisted take on the survival of the fittest theory. Those who don't get injured by the volume of training survive to compete”.
All too often this mentality creates an environment where rowers are pushed to the point of injury and often through injury. Injuries in rowing are NOT normal. We can no longer assume injuries are just a part of the process. We have to be better. We have to change our mindset.
Have you accepted injuries as normal?
What would happen if we valued health, just as much as performance?
It’s no surprise to any rower that rowing places extreme demands on its participants. The movement itself, the intensity, the technique required, and the traditional approach to training makes injuries a common occurrence. Studies have found that 32-51% of rowers will experience an injury each year. When it comes to back pain, 82% of rowers report pain annually (2).
So, is that just the nature of the sport? Is there no way to get around these numbers? What most people don’t realize is that we are completely capable of flipping the switch on these numbers.
What are you doing to keep you athletes/yourself healthy?
Having been a competitive D1 rower who experienced a career ending injury, I was driven by my personal experience to give back to the rowing community. It’s due to this fact that I spent the last 9 years of my life coaching, training, and screening rowers. What I’ve found is based on my education, hours of research, and years of practical experience.
What’s to come? Information on improving movement, performance, and recovery. What the optimal stroke looks like and how to get closer to just that. Followed by practical recommendations based on thousands of data points collected over the past 9 years. We collected this data via screening ~120 rowers twice a year.
Blake Gourley holds a Masters of Science in Sports Performance Training and has over 10 years of experience working with rowers. Read more