Day 5 – March 6th
Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 at 11:29 pm

John Bancheri, Head Coach
Hometown: Delia, Italy
Major: History, Rowing

I have been doing these “chalk talks” for years. There is no script. I go off the theme of the day or the week. In this case we were reviewing the recovery phase of the stroke and “poise” in preparation for the entry of the blade and the drive phase. The concepts of the Quats, 7 lbs. Off the seat. The push, the Impulse and the whip.

I am a big believer of 20 minutes of instruction on land is worth two hours on the water. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years doing these chalk talks and I thank my mentors like (Robert Garbutt, Stan Bergman, Michael Thompson, Rudy Wieler, Larry Gluckman, Jimmy Joy, etc) who taught me the art of coaching. There are a few times one might question the phrase used and I say you are correct, that may not be scientifically correct. The reality is there are many anomalies in rowing. I use very visual cues to illustrate the point, as well as use those phrases to focus on tactile response. As Coach Tim McLaren says, the 4 most important words in coaching are, “it feels like this”.

Thanks to my model oarsman, Matt Collins (3rd year), my assistant coach for the video, Costas Ciungan, our coaches Dan Martin, Lauren Holben, to our host Coach Allen Eubanks and the Smoky Mountain Rowing Center.

Ben Willliams Senior Rower

Benjamin Willims, Men’s Team Captain
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Major: Political Science

Day 4 here in Tennessee was an eventful one. Coach B spoke with Michigan State’s women so we could have a scrimmage with them. With that being the plan, we spent our first practice working on technique, and racing each other near the East Tennessee boathouse. It was a really nice overcast morning, and even though the ground was wet, we didn’t have to deal with any rain. The flat water made for some great rowing, and the Varsity squads got to go toe to toe for a while.

In the afternoon, we headed out to the course at Oak Ridge to begin seat racing and selection for the Spring boats. This is always a stressful time, but the change of scenery was nice. The men were in fours and the women in eights piecing against MSU’s Varsity women. We began the pieces out of the way of the race course on a long stretch of water, cracking jokes during rest time despite the level of intensity we were operating at. The sun had come out at this point, and it was a gorgeous day.

Upon finishing the racing, we headed back in and loaded up the trailer for our short trip back to ETRO. Some boats will be here again tomorrow, but most of us are excited for the trip to Gatlinburg .

Map of rowing path

Elizabeth Greve
Hometown: Dexter, MI
Major: Allied Health Science

Today began our fourth day of spring break training. Per usual, we began our morning practice with a chalk talk. Today Coach B talked about posture and power: how posture proceeds power as having proper posture provides you with the setup to achieve maximum power. Coach also demonstrated the importance of leaning into your oarlock in order to prevent your rigger from rising so that the boat can be as balanced as possible. He emphasized how important it is for each member of the crew to do this, as one side of the boat not doing this will cause the boat to tip to the opposite side, making it harder for the rest of the crew to row and ultimately slowing down the boat. With these things in mind, the crew took to the water, eager to apply what we had learned.

The varsity women rowed alongside the varsity men for the morning row. We did the majority of the practice with feet out in order to work on maintaining connection with the footboard. We alternated between doing drills and short pieces by 4’s, each time trying to stay ahead of the men’s boats. We finished the practice with all eight rowing (the first time we have done that yet this spring). This was very exciting for me as this is the first time I have been in the 1V and rowed by all eight. It was cool to see how good the boat felt and I’m excited to see how we can continue to improve.

After a break in the afternoon, the women and varsity men returned to Oak Ridge to do pieces with the MSU women’s team. The women did 3×5 minute pieces. It was great to have a competitive opportunity like this so early in the season and against a team as powerful as MSU. Everyone learned a lot in terms of where we can improve both as a crew and individually. The main things I took away from the scrimmage were the importance of staying calm and focused when racing as this will allow you to row the best that you can, as well as the importance of giving it your all in training both on and off the water. As coach said in his chalk talk, posture provides power on the water, but so does physical fitness on the erg and through other forms of training, and both are equally important in determining who will win a race.

Today was definitely one of the most intense days we have had thus far during the trip, but the crew learned a lot and are excited to get back on the water tomorrow to continue making improvements and to keep getting faster!

Erin Vielbig - Novice Women

Erin Vielbig
Hometown: Fowlerville, MI
Major: Public and Non-Profit Administration

After a continental breakfast, we headed to the course and started our AM practice with a chalk talk from Coach B. He reviewed the points made earlier this week, and brought them all together to stress the importance of posture, touch and balance. When we got out on the river we were in an 8, where we spent a fourth of our time feet out, to stress staying connected through the entire stroke, especially during the swing. We worked diligently through drills and did 5 minute pieces throughout our practice. These were done by 6s both feet in and out, at a high stroke rating. This practice was meant to gear us up for a race against MSU at Oakridge later today.

After a lunch and rest at the hotel, we made our way to Oakridge, where we got to experience new views and see where the TN trip used to be. The races went well considering we have yet to row by 8s this week. We noticed improvement throughout these races, and walked away with a few key things to work on.

Tuesday was a great day and we made long strides; however, one of the best highlights came this evening, A group of us went to Bdubs, where we discovered BOGO boneless wings, suffice to say, we were ecstatic. The surprises kept coming, and we learned shakes and floats were also half off at Sonic! We stuffed ourselves with discounted foods in celebration of the week thus far, and in anticipation in the days to come. We ended the day the same we started, as a close-knit group who loves a good deal.

The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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