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Thoughts and suggestions. Rowing is primarily an endurance-based, aerobic sport that simultaneously requires great power demands from the athlete; thus,

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Presentation on theme: "Thoughts and suggestions. Rowing is primarily an endurance-based, aerobic sport that simultaneously requires great power demands from the athlete; thus,"— Presentation transcript:

1 thoughts and suggestions

2 Rowing is primarily an endurance-based, aerobic sport that simultaneously requires great power demands from the athlete; thus, conditioning is critical. What? Is that the only boat you have in?

3 Technique is a way to allow a rower to bridge the gap from where they are to where they want to be. Emil Kossev and Julie McCleery

4 You should try to discern the difference between what the athlete is doing and what they are trying to do. Try to imagine what they might look like when they are not pushed to the breaking point. A few examples of why this discernment may help you: The great Romanian sculler, Valeria Racila-driving toward the finish line, passing her last rival-knees bobbling up just before the finish of the stroke, her legs no longer able to force the stroke home. The Hansen brothers of Norway, in spite of blades breaking loose at the finish, beating a superb Russian double in the last fifty meters simply because the Russians have been unable to maintain the pace. A new Zealand eight winning the World Championships in 1983 with four collapsing toward his handle at the finish of each stroke and number six finishing early. Neither man has any intention of quitting, but the cadence has become virtually beyond their strength. What you see at the finish of a boat race is what is left of technique after it has been eroded by strenuous exertion and excitement, to say nothing of the deterrent effect of wind and water. Frank Cunningham, The Sculler at Ease, P. 127 Avery Press, 1992

5 APHORISM #1 Technique is potentially affected far greater by conditioning than conditioning is affected by technique

6 APHORISM #2 Technique is primarily important to the degree that it allows the uniform application of ideal human conditioning to boat speed

7 APHORISM #3 Uniformity in technique remains far more critical than any one technical style

8 A) ProprioceptionThis type of training is most difficult to teach. Proprioception is, basically, the development of an awareness of ones muscle, joint, and bone movements. Such awareness is not simply learning the aspect of a new skill. It is about repeating that aspect of the skill properly (and more often improperly first) until it is committed to memory, intuition, or, by its more colloquial name, muscle memory. There are four steps in developing this awareness: (1) realizing the position of the skill; (2) developing an accurate sense of the movements involved in achieving the position; (3) practicing the accurate level of force to complete the skill; (4) repeat, repeat, repeat.

9 B) Timing and controlThis type of training is addressed in practice. It refers mostly to executing the stroke properly in accord with the theory of the rowing stroke taught at your particular program. 1. You have to go slow to go fast. 2. And you have to go fast to go faster.

10 C) Mobility/stabilityAs it relates to technique in rowing, mobility and stability is often related to setting a boat. However, in my opinion, set is a nonsense term in rowing. Athletes and coaches use the term; but, it involves hundreds of different movements. Set, in my opinion, is a generalization that can be referenced only in relationship to some specific skill that is trying to be achieved. To be specific, united control up the slide, one roll up, one catch, one release, balance over the keel of a boat, ratio between the slide and the drive, and level handle heights, one reach, matched up layback, focused heads within the boat, etc.

11 D) Functional activityThis type of training deals with on the water practice and off the water activities. On the water practice is fairly self explanatory. Rowing specific training for off-the-water practices should be taught and implemented. For example, pace charts can be used to teach power output on the ergometer. And weight training workouts can be used both to teach certain bio-mechanics of the rowing stroke in relati0nship to controlled vs. explosive power.

12 E) High-dynamic performanceIf all aspects of the training have been implemented, and if all the work has been done by the athletes and the coaches, then practices will be peak training and as a result races will be peak performances.

13 1) Hands on the handles: The grip influences all other parts of the stroke, and I think it is essential to learn the appropriate grip and manipulation of the handle before almost anything else. The grip should first and foremost be relaxed, hands applying light downward pressure from the base of the fingers (the ball of the hand), thumbs applying light outward pressure against the oarlocks, fingers loosely wrapped around the handles. Wrists should stay flat, or slightly above the handle, through as much of the stroke as possible. 2) Butt on seat: Being centered on the sit bones allows a solid pivot as well as engagement of glute and quad strength. The pivot should be deliberate but not jerky Shoulders should stay in sockets, shoulder blades on back, and the torso stays "quiet." Pivoting to bodies over should be done with minimal effort and in one motion a. Releasing the knees for a controlled movement must be felt b. Lack of flexibility can cause a loading up of L1-L5 versus glute/quads 3) Feet on Footboards: Power is generated primarily from the glute and quads; but, you can't jump if the weight is not on the feet. People with flexible hamstrings may strive to keep four corners of feet rooted. People with inflexible hamstrings can roll up onto their toes then gently push off of them. 4) Blades in the water: Scullers relax the blades into the water, almost as if the elbow joint is producing the motion.


15 Simply put, the finish is the extraction of the blades from the drive sequence. To achieve a strong and powerful finish, the body should be in a comfortable, layback position (nose just passed the handle). Layback should be upright, not a collapse of the torso onto the sacrum and tucking of sacrum under the hips. The wrists and forearm should be horizontal (parallel to the water) with wrists flat and in line with the rest of the forearm. The key to a good finish is to be connected to the water via the face of the blades via suspension in the feet.


17 The beginning and end of the stroke is actually at the body over or pivot position. This is where the legs are flat down and the arms and body has pivoted at the hip into the forward position. It is here the rowers begin to shift body back onto the feet.

18 Body position on the recovery is critical for several reasons: It sets up and prepares the body for an effective movement onto the balls of the feet It allows the boat to run out on the recovery It helps to set the balance of the boat It makes it easier for the rower to feel the oar balance in the oarlock A good ¼ slide position should be body angle maintained, only a small break in the knees and the momentum of the seat toward the catch must be controlled by relaxing the glute while drawing the seat to feet. At ½ slide, body angle is still maintained, the knees continue to rise as the seat moves toward the catch. As the hands move over the feet, the hands start to rise subtly in anticipation of the catch, beginning to move the blades closer to the water. At this point in the stroke, the blades should begin to be squared up in preparation of the catch. At ¾ slide, the rower must creep into the catch (pressure on top two corners of the foot) without causing the shell to check. Watch for control of the final turn of the wheels of the seat into the catch. If there is a lack of control, then momentum will cause the rowers weight to be rushed to the stern, checking the boat, and thus slowing the run of the hull.

19 The catch is the most difficult part of the stroke because it requires the rower to execute a number of precise movements in the blink of an eye, all while the boat is at its most unstable point. The first requirement for a good catch is to maintain the correct body position from the recovery as the seat moves toward the front stops. Then, seat/legs should be at full compression, as denoted by shins perpendicular to the line of the water. Pressure should be up on the feet (top 2 corners or all four corners depending on flexibility) and ready to press off the footboards.

20 During the last inch or two of the recovery and while the blades are still moving toward the bow of the boat, the body weight should transfer onto the top two-corners of the feet and the hands should unweight from the handles, thus allowing the blades to slip into the water at the same instant the slide reaches the front stops. Front stops are not bounce points. An effective catch has the blades entering the water as the rower rolls into full extension with the upper body relaxed and legs at full compression. This allows the glute, legs, and lats to lock the blade to the water via the feet on the footboard. There is a brief moment when the body get suspended behind the face of the blades for the drive sequence. Be patient here. We are the slowest fast sport in existence.

21 The instant the blades are locked to the water, the rower must shift seat directions while suspending their body weight behind the blades via pressing through the feet. A briefest moment of hang: We are the slowest fast sport in existence. Next, by using glute and quad strength, the rower must begin accelerating the boat. The best way to do this act is to keep connected to the footboard be keeping pressure on 2 to 4 corners of the feet. If the hips and handle are not connected through the footboard no crew will achieve maximum acceleration.

22 After the legs have gone ¾ of the way down, the upper body begins to "swing open using the hip as the pivot point. It is important to pivot from the hip and the rower should continue to feel some force in the feet as the body swings to the layback position. Swing should be thought of as attempting to continue the acceleration of the handles.

23 With the legs locked down stabilizing the boat, and the back swinging through the perpendicular position, the arms begin to pry the oars toward the body. Like the legs-back transition, the back and arms work together for a brief period by continuing to press through the footboards during the drive to attempt to maintain the handle speed into the body.

24 Also, understand that the speed of the stroke (on both the drive and recovery) is directly related to the speed of the boat. On the drive, if the boat is going a speed of X then the blade, and thus the handle speed should be only slightly faster than X. If the speed of the blades and handles are significantly faster than the speed of the boat, then that is an obvious sign that the blades have not been locked onto the water and are slipping through. If the speed of the handle and blade on the drive are slower than the speed of the boat, then they allow the vortex to close behind the blades causing a feeling that the blades are sticking in the water.

25 Sculling (or rowing for that matter) is not just about rushing back and forth on the slide and pulling hard…it is about applying pressure effectively with the other members of the crew to make the make the shell go as fast as possible.

26 World Rowing - The Perfect Stroke - YouTube

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