As long as there has been rowing equipment, there’s been the need for someone to adjust, test, repair, and clean it.
Those actions are what we lovingly call “rigging.”
Over time, certain rigging techniques have proven themselves invaluable.
These techniques are the foundation of rigging, and they make the job easier, simplier, and more effective.
Following is a list of those 11 foundation rigging techniques. While the list may seem very basic, these 11 strategies work. After 40 years of rigging, I still use them every day, and I think you will find them very helpful.
#1. Learn The Correct Way To Rig
With most things in life there are correct methods and wrong methods. When working with rowing equipment, it’s not different. To save time, effort, busted knuckles, and heartache—learn the correct ways.
Of course, once you’ve learned the correct methods feel free to experiment and try shortcuts. But until you’ve got the correct ways down-pat you should . . .
#2 Practice The Correct Rigging Techniques
If you want to become better at rigging, you need to practice.
Not just a little bit. You need to practice a lot!
The process of only reading a workbook will NOT help you rig better. Just watching a YouTube video doesn’t cut it either.
You need to learn the correct rigging techniques (a book or video is fine) then actually take action, and practice.
And then . . .
- Practice more
- Practice even more
- Practice even more than that
- Even when you don’t feel like it, practice
Like learning a foreign language, or learning anything really—repetition is critical. Heck, our sport is based on the principal of repetition.
Just make sure you’ve learned the correct methods first before you go too far down the repetition path.
#3 Keep Your Rowing Equipment Clean
Keep your equipment clean. Why?
- You’ll feel better when you row in a tidy boat.
- The better your equipment looks, the better you will take care of it.
- A good cleaning greatly reduces the wear and tear on the moving parts, protect your hull, and saves you money.
- Clean stuff is almost always faster stuff.
#4A Test Your Adjustments
One of the most powerful words in the rowing world is testing.
Too often rowers and coaches give in to the temptation to just copy what someone else is doing. They use the same rigging numbers, buy the same equipment, row the same way.
Why would you do that?
You and your team are unique.
Using what someone else is doing is acceptable as long as you have tested it and found it to work for you.
Blindly copying what another is doing will put you at a disadvantage in more ways than you might guess.
So test, to make sure things work best for you.
#4B Before You Adjust, Measure and Record
You might be itching to move that pin a centimeter, but before you do, grab your tape measure.
Measure and record where that pin is located BEFORE you make an adjustment.
That way, you know where you started from, and where to return to, in case the adjustment is a flop.
Seems simple, but it’s seldom done.
#5 Use The Correct Tools On Your Rowing Equipment
You can do about 90% of all rigging chores with these six tools:
- height stick
- pitch meter
- tape measure
- cleaning supplies
Tackling a rigging job using the correct tool just makes sense.
It saves time and cuts down on injuries—to you and to the equipment.
Don’t use pliers to loosen a stuck fastener. Don’t use a hammer to adjust a track. And vise grips make lousy screwdrivers.
#6 Use The Right Amount of Tight
There are numerous fasteners throughout a boat.
They are meant to be loosened, adjusted and tightened.
Despite our best attempts, we coaches and rowers often don’t get the tight quite right.
That is never a good thing.
Find out how tight a fastener should be, and then do the best you can to get it correct.
#7 Put The Tools Away When You’re Done
You’ve just finished rigging an entire eight, now what do you do?
You put the tools away—where they belong.
Don’t be that goofball who doesn’t put tools away and “hopes”:
- Jeez, I hope these tools are around when I need them next.
- Jeez, I hope I don’t loose that wrench, it fit perfectly.
- Jeez, I hope someone will clean up my mess.
Taking a few minutes to clean up and stow things where they belong—and where you can find them—could save you hours, and trim seconds off of your race times.
The mantra A Place For Everything And Everything In Its Place is a good one to repeat after your job is done.
#8 Make Changes To Your Rigging…Slowly
Today the word slow exists in very few people’s vocabulary.
Everyone and everything is moving wicked fast.
Yet there are times in rigging and rowing when you need to go slow.
Rowers become accustomed to how their equipment is set.
Significant changes, especially in the leverage, can be tough on a rower.
Giving an athlete a chance to grow into a change is often very prudent.
Move slow, and let them grow.
#9 Treat Your Rowing Equipment With Respect
Here is a technique that works well in every single aspect of our life:
- Find the equipment you need
- Treat it with respect
- It will be there for you when you need it
That may sound all touchy-feely, but it is a time-tested technique.
You and your equipment are on the same team and understanding that is a critical step in eliminating many issues.
#10 Write Rigging Stuff Down
Our brains are great at processing information, but not great at storing stuff.
Give your brain a break and find a safe place to store important information about your equipment, such as:
- rigging numbers
- serial numbers
Write them down, and file them.
Or be wishing that you did.
#11 Drop The Fear
Don’t be afraid to rig wrong, but admit it when you do.
Don’t be afraid to fail, and learn from it when you do.
Don’t be afraid. Period!
These 11 actions are by no means a complete list; but, they are the foundational actions that can have a huge impact.
Are there other foundational rigging techniques that work well for you?