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The Importance of ERG Scores for Rowing Scholarships

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

For young rowing athletes with a passion for the sport and dreams of pursuing higher education, the journey to a college scholarship can be both thrilling and challenging. As you navigate the waters of scholarship applications, there’s one term that you’ll come across frequently: “ERG scores.” But what exactly is an ERG in rowing, and why do college coaches emphasize it when scouting for rowing talent? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of ERG scores and explain their significance in your quest for a rowing scholarship.

Understanding ERG in Rowing

Before we dive into the importance of ERG scores for rowing scholarships, let’s start with the basics. An ERG, short for “ergometer,” is a piece of equipment commonly used by rowers to measure their performance and progress. It simulates the rowing motion while providing data on metrics such as distance, time, and power output. ERG scores essentially represent your performance level and can be a valuable tool for both athletes and coaches.

The primary metric used in ERG scores is the time it takes to row a set distance, typically 2,000 meters. This time is crucial as it reflects your cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, and overall fitness. It’s important to note that ERG scores aren’t just about speed; they provide insight into your technique, consistency, and ability to maintain efficient rowing form over a sustained period.

Why ERG Scores Matter for Rowing Scholarships

College rowing programs are highly competitive, and coaches are always on the lookout for athletes who can contribute significantly to their teams. This is where ERG scores come into play. Here’s why coaches place such emphasis on ERG scores when scouting for rowing talent:

Objective Performance Measurement:

ERG scores provide coaches with an objective and standardized way to evaluate rowing potential. Unlike subjective assessments, such as scouting at regattas, ERG scores offer quantifiable data that allows coaches to compare athletes fairly.

Predictive of Athletic Success:

Research has shown that strong ERG scores correlate with success on the water. Athletes who excel on the ERG often demonstrate better rowing technique, endurance, and mental fortitude – all qualities that contribute to success in competitive rowing.


ERG scores can be a useful tool for comparing athletes from different geographical locations. Since ERG tests can be conducted anywhere, coaches can evaluate athletes without the constraints of distance.

Long-Term Potential:

Coaches often look for athletes with the potential for improvement over time. A rower who shows dedication to improving their ERG scores is likely to have the commitment and work ethic necessary to excel in a college rowing program.

How to Improve Your ERG Performance

Now that you understand the importance of ERG scores, you’re probably wondering how to boost your performance on the machine. Here are some tips to help you improve your ERG scores and enhance your chances of securing a rowing scholarship:

Proper Technique:

Technique is crucial in rowing, both on the water and on the ERG. Focus on maintaining a strong and efficient rowing form to maximize your power output and reduce the risk of injury.

Consistent Training:

Consistency is key to improvement. Establish a training schedule that includes regular ERG sessions to build your endurance and strength over time.

Interval Training:

Incorporate interval training into your workouts to simulate the varying intensity of a race. Alternate between periods of high-intensity rowing and active recovery to boost your cardiovascular fitness.

Strength and Conditioning:

A well-rounded fitness routine that includes strength and conditioning exercises will enhance your rowing performance. Pay attention to core strength, leg power, and upper body stability.

Mental Toughness:

ERG tests can be mentally challenging. Develop mental toughness and focus through visualization, goal setting, and mindfulness techniques to push through discomfort and fatigue.

For more personalized guidance and training programs, consider seeking advice from experienced coaches or trainers. They can provide insights tailored to your strengths and areas of improvement.

The Link Between ERG Rowing Scores and College Applications

As you prepare your college applications and approach potential rowing scholarships, your ERG scores can play a pivotal role in showcasing your dedication and potential. Here’s how ERG scores are linked to your college applications:

Athletic Resume:

Your ERG scores are a tangible representation of your athletic abilities. Including impressive ERG scores in your athletic resume can catch the attention of college coaches and demonstrate your commitment to rowing excellence.

Highlighting Improvement:

If you’ve made significant progress in your ERG scores over time, it’s a testament to your hard work and determination. Colleges appreciate students who show growth and dedication.

Demonstrating Commitment:

Exceptional ERG scores reflect your commitment to the sport. Coaches seek athletes who are willing to invest time and effort into their training, as this dedication contributes to the success of the team.

Initial Screening:

College coaches receive numerous applications and inquiries. Strong ERG scores can act as a favorable initial screening factor, encouraging coaches to further explore your potential as a rowing recruit.

In the world of collegiate rowing, ERG scores are more than just numbers – they are a reflection of your dedication, potential, and love for the sport. As you aspire to secure a rowing scholarship, remember that improving your ERG performance goes hand in hand with enhancing your overall rowing abilities. So, embrace the challenge, commit to consistent training, and showcase your passion for rowing through your ERG scores. By understanding the significance of ERG scores and their role in the college application process, you’ll be better equipped to set sail on the exciting journey towards achieving your dreams.

Are you ready to take the next step in your rowing journey and explore scholarship opportunities? Don’t miss the chance to apply for a rowing scholarship through Athlete +, where your dedication and ERG scores could open doors to a bright future in collegiate rowing.

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