Carlos Dinares: Developing crew combinations for ROWING

Developing crew combinations

If you are a rowing coach that is building a crew boat you might think that your skills and the ones of a cheerleading coach have nothing in common but the reality is that you might be wrong. As a rowing coach one of the skills you need is the ability to help your crew match together and develop a good rhythm.

I’m sure you already have different training strategies in your system that you use over the season to achieve that.

If you coach a small number of athletes
You could try a strategy that is a bit time consuming but can quickly illustrate how you want the athletes to move the boat.

Get onto two linked Rowperfect3 . By connecting the two machines, you can feel the other athlete and they can feel you. Set up a good rhythm and power – you don’t need to use the computer software, just encourage the athlete to ‘feel’.

Then get into a double scull with the other athlete at stroke and you at bow. Go rowing and get them to create the same movement and feeling as you had on the linked RPs.

A variation on this if your group is larger; start on the RP# as described above; but them switch yourself off and add one new athlete; then switch off the guy you started rowing with and add a new one. Continue until everyone has had a chance to row together – then you jump on again to finish off and see what’s changed. It’s a bit like ‘chinese whispers’ but the speed with which athletes learn by feeling and experiencing a good powerful stroke rather than being spoken to is remarkable.

The British gold medal winning 8 in 2000 did this drill before going out to race the Olympic final

I heard that the crew used Rowperfects during each race warm up and preparation. What did you do?
I remember sitting on it not doing a huge distance just handfuls of strokes to make sure my back was opening against my legs properly and it was there as a tool to make sure we go the force curve right when we got onto the water. We did some pairs and moved down the boat – stern pair and next pair. We made sure we did it with other pairs in the boat.

Read the whole i nterview about the Sydney 2000 crew

Here is a list of 5 actions to teach your crew combining skills.

1) Use the 2-,4- and 4+ moving people around to develop towards the 8+.
2) Use Rowperfect rowing machines linked together like on this video to get to build your team boat. You can link them as 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 or even more.
3) Use sculling boats to develop individual skill.
4) Use drills like pauses, rowing part of the stroke, rowing part of the crew and rowing at different stroke rates and speed, pressure.
5) Use video to get visual feedback of how well they are matching together using pauses in the video and slo w motion replay.

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