A new weapon for your coaching and rigging arsenal—Plan B.

Okay, riddle me this . . . what do you do when you have a plan to get something done—and that plan doesn’t work?

For instance, you’re driving your trailer full of shells to an important race. The race site is only 1 hour away, you’ve got plenty of time . . . and then your trailer gets a flat. And then another. And one more.

Arggh—three flats.

Your Plan A just went down the tube. What do you do?

Or you’ve got this fantastic (and killer) workout planed. You’re going to be practicing 3 X 1500 meters, in eights, at race pace. This is going to be great. And then you learn 8 minutes before practice that three athletes are not coming to practice due to illness.

Plan A shot to heck. What do you do?

Sitting in your easy chair, reading this, the answer is easy: You give it another try.

Yup, that is what we do as rowers and coaches. We come up with another plan and try again. And what we commonly call that next effort is Plan B (aka Backup Plan).

And a while ago I got thinking, “Just how often do I use Plan B?

So I started to keep track. And I found the following:

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I’ve found that, on average, I tend to find success with Plan A 70% of the time, have to use Plan B15% of the time, and fall back on Plan C 5% of the time. And 10% of the time I just don’t get it done.

Like I said this is on average. Some things I’m batting about 100% (like getting up in the morning) and others I’m doing pretty poorly (like workable ideas to stop the BP oil leak). But this made me realize that Plan B, prepared ahead of time, could be a pretty important secret weapon.

And what if this graph held true all the time, for everyone?

Would you be more willing to have a Plan B? Maybe even a Plan C?

Could Plan B be your secret weapon?