When you row you need to control your blade. The placement of the blade at the catch, how you place it in the water, how you carve the water, how you catch the water and what this blade does over the whole drive is not an easy thing to control.
If you have looked at novice rowers you will see that they have a very difficult time to catch the water, to approach the blade to the water at the right moment, to be direct to the water, to time well the change of direction of their body mass with the blade connection to the water, to keep the blade horizontal trough the drive, to release a clean and vertical blade. They will also have a difficult time to square before the entry, to take the blade away from the water on the square and after that feather.
Learning to row properly requires a lot of good practice and good coaching. One of the key elements of efficient rowing and good rowing is to catch the water with the blade at the right time. Not an easy thing to do.
In order to catch the water with the blade at the right time with the right deepness many things needs to be done right:
1) The rower needs to know how to move on the recovery and where the water is so he can approach the blade to it to contact directly the water as he is turning direction.
2) The rower needs to have developed the right coordination pattern so he can find the pressure in front of the blade as soon as he produces pressure on the footstretcher.
3) The rower needs to have enough body control and strength and blade control so he can control the entry of the blade and how deep the blade goes. Rowers that cannot control the deepness of the blade at the catch lack coordination, body control, blade control and body strength.
So if you feel that you don’t have a good catch, your blade goes to deep in the water and you don’t have control of what you do this is what I want you to do:
Get on a team boat and have your teammates balancing the boat and practice that on very slow motion:
1) Row just the first part of the drive and release after few centimeters, inches. Keep the pressure down and do the movement really slow. Look at the blade and find out how to approach the water correctly and find pressure in front of the blade as soon as possible.
2) Row on a team boat with a boungee cord so it slows down the boat and makes the drive heavier so you have more time to do it right and you also have an easier balance.
3) Row few strokes you alone and your crew members balancing the boat and other strokes add them in. Keep changing the speed of the boat by adding them and dropping them so you can feel the difference.
4) Row a Rowperfect3 with a heavy drag and with the software so you can see when your timing at the catch is better by having a smother build up of the power curve.
5) Row at low rates so you can improve your coordination, timing, body control, blade control and body strength and can apply all that later to higher rates when the skill required is also higher.