I completely agree with your reality check. I coach a novice women’s Team. They seem to understand the rowing stroke and how to use there body weight through the drive. The only problem is they can’t achieve this at lower rates by eights or sixes. So this next week I will force them to row at a 14 for the first 30 minutes every practice until they learn how to move in unison with power at that rate. I suppose there is no point in training at higher rates until they figure out the lower rates. I noticed that many crews will push there crews to row higher rates to soon. I feel like this inhibits that team to ever get a good sense of boat feel. I have been a novice coach for 3 years now and I want to make sure I develop strong and efficient rowers before I hand them off to other coaches. Could you please share with me that video of the crew rowing at a 14 and also any advice would be appreciated.
Have them rowing at low rates by 4 and 6′s with pauses. Make them row slow and perfect, it can be done perfect by 6′s and with pauses. After that progress to 6′s with no pause. After that go all 8 and have them gather in one place on the recovery to find the rhythm.
Going to high rates when they are not capable of rowing well at low rates is just for fun and to get ready for racing. It also help them to keep them distracted and understanding that racing is fast and everything happens faster.
I you are a NOVICE coach you want to be sure you develop from the start properly the body of your rowers, you also teach them properly the rowing stroke and make them LOVE the sport of ROWING. The goal is always to have a SUCCESSFUL rower OVERTIME. Sometime EARLY results will get on the way of proper development and future success of this rower.
One key note NOVICE COACHES:
It is not about your results as a coach but about how many of your rowers make it in few years to the top Varsity boats, colleges and OLYMPIC TEAMS!!!!
Said that now you will understand that if you want to win a race in the first 4 weeks of rowing of a TEAM you need to train higher rates and this makes little sense to proper development of a rower. Here is where the NOVICE COACH needs to don’t care about the result and care about the development. A good novice crew is a crew that can row properly at low rates and not a crew that can win with awful rowing at half slide.
If I was a HEAD COACH and had a NOVICE COACH, I will make sure he understand his job as a Novice Coach and his role on the proper development of the rowers he needs to hand me on the future.
The 3 REVOLUTIONARY STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR ROWING ARE:
1) Row at low rates as long as you need until you develop your body and wire the proper rowing stroke on your body.
2) Don’t worry about the short term results and develop overtime real speed.
3) Be sure you get better and faster every year.
Here are 2 very good examples of rowing at low rate: