Rowing is connected power to the blade that makes the boat go fast. This connected power gives speed and generates Rhythm. The faster the boat the easier is to feel good and powerful rhythm. The Rhythm will be a system of 2 different masses, the one of the boat and the one of the rowers riding together to make the boat go fast. The connection to the water will help the rower to control the boat and have connection to it. The connection to the water will help the mass of the rower to change direction at the catch and at the release. I always say that the first thing a coach needs to teach to a rower is to connect to the water. After that all the rowing stroke principles can be developed right.
Let’s now try to explain what I mean with the rowing circuit on the recovery and how following that you can generate more speed to the boat, more connection and more rhythm.
Ok let’s thing that we are coaching a group of rowers to get ready to row together. The first goal is to coach them a rowing that is clear and define so when they row together they have some clues during the stroke cycle they all know that help them to reorganize themselves and find each other. Let’s just think that you are teaching a group of kids to jump at the same time and they need to do it together so they will look synchronize and as one. If you want to have them all look the same you will start by teaching them what to do with their body parts, arms, hands, bodies before you even start practicing the jump so that they learn to jump using their bodies the same way. This is the same for rowing. You can row fast doing different styles and moving differently but when you are in a Team boat connected to the boat with your teammates you all need to move together so the boat can go faster.
Yes I like to teach rowing that controls every singe detail of the recovery so the whole group moves together and with the same hand circuit, body circuit and inertias and recovery speed. There is nothing worst for a coach than trying to put a Team boat together of rowers that use different ways to move on the recovery, square their blade, finish the stroke, height f hands on recovery…
I believe that rowers need to prepare temselves on the recovery going trough a circuit and attacking the catch with inertia that will help them load their weight on the blade and get the boat with power and good rythm.
The way rowers move and organize themselves on the recovey and how they use their recovery time will affect directly how direct and powerful is the catch.
If you load your blade and body weight well, you will achieve suspension and you will take part of your weight away from the shell. This concept of preparation and attack is key for rowers to understand how important is their recovery positioning and timing and their sequence of movements to an efficient catch.
This crew loads their body weight perfectly at the catch jumping at the right time. You can see also how well they move on the recovery to get a good catch and load well their body weight on the blade. Rowing well is playing well with your body weight in relationship with the shell.
So to teach that correctly I use a balanced boat or a Rowperfect3 and I make the rowers to go trough the sequence of movements really slowly so they can wire the new movements on their body. The focus and understanding and feel are key to make that change real and sustainable.
I call this GOING TROUGH THE CIRCUIT. I do organize a circuit of things to do during the recovery that I ask them to follow with clues during the stroke cycle. I tell them when and where to do things like level of hands, square, feather, speed, ….