Ursula Grobler: Training tips from a champion

When people want good advice and training tips, they want it from a champion in a specific industry. For business, you might want to get advice from Elon Musk. For politics, perhaps you’d listen to what Jay Inslee has to say.

For athletics, rowing in particular, Ursula Grobler is someone we should perk our ears to listen to.

I’ve mentioned before that Ursula achieved (and still holds!) the Erg World Record. What I haven’t mentioned is that, before she accomplished that feat, she’d only been in training for five short years and, even then, she didn’t even start out intending to become a professional rower! Prior to rowing competitively, Ursula was a runner, and only took up the water sport out of curiosity. (Source: King 5, Aug 2, 2014.)

Her swift, initially unintentional rise to the top is what makes her accomplishment all the more impressive and her story all the more compelling.

Trusting the Process

Before discussing rowing specifically, Ursula explained that letting go and trusting the process is important to athletic success, something Positive Performance’s training focuses on.

 To read a transcript of this clip, click HERE.

Getting Specific: Advice for Rowers

Sports in general have a lot of things in common: they require training, physical fitness, mental fitness, etc. But they also have a lot of differences. I play basketball, and there’s no way I can just slip onto an erg and expect my body to know how to row well! It takes key muscle groups learning together in specific sequence to know how and when to push, pull, extend, or contract.

That’s why, for rowers, this advice from a champion rower is so invaluable

Listen here as Ursula tells rowers her key components for success.

To read a transcript of this clip, click HERE.

In summary, here are Ursula Grobler's

Top 4 Training Tips for Rowers

  1. Listen to the voices in your head.
  2. Refuse to lose.
  3. Stay fresh through practice, diet & preparation.
  4. Be in it for the long haul.

Rowing with the Punches & Mental Awareness

To end our talk, Ursula explained to me how unpredictable rowing can be—influences from weather, wind, et cetera—but that obviously doesn’t keep her down. Being ready for whatever comes requires mental acuity, what Ursula and I referred to as “awareness” during our conversation.

To read a transcript of this clip, click HERE.

Much of the time, Ursula was talking specifically to her experience with rowing, but that doesn’t mean these same concepts can’t be applied to other sports.

Whether you play basketball, football, or row, whether you enjoy the sport casually or for competition, staying on top of our game satisfies our natural, human tendency to compete, so indulge in it and enjoy it! The outcome will only be a happier, more fit, more you YOU, and that’s undoubtedly awesome.

"Our competitive feelings are an indication of what we want, and acknowledging what we want is key to getting to know ourselves." -Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.

NOTE: This is the final installment of my series on the 2014 discussion I had with Erg World Record holder Ursula Grobler. If you’ve missed either of the first two, click below to read them:      

   Part 1: Rowing and Mental Training          

   Part 2: Winning for the Love of the Game


Do you have a sport-specific training tip you’d like to share? Tell the Positive Performance community in the comments below and let us in on it!

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