A quick follow up note. It’s been about a month since I was at Lake Samish, and I thought I’d drop you a brief line.
I’ve had a number of experiences that convince me I’ve started on the right path.
1. Today I went out for early practice, and had several sets of strokes where I the oars seem to pop out of the water automatically and evenly, the boat was balanced perfectly, there were two perfect pools where the oars had left the water, I could hear the sound of the water behind me as the bow made its wake, and the boat seemed to be flying. (the water was almost perfectly calm at the time).
2. I’m getting better about slowing down to make myself responsible for all the movements in every stroke. I don’t do this 100% of the time, but I work at it. I can more easily diagnose problems when they occur and correct them on the very next stroke.
3. I had the opportunity to row with a nearby coach for a quick feedback session. She said that I have good hang (I think we know where that came from), and made some helpful suggestions (mainly a reminder about accelerating hands through the finish—you had told me to keep pressure on the blades, but that had somehow fallen a little too close to the back burner).
4. I’ve been working some of the RP exercises on the water, while the weather is still good. In particular the catch drill, where we rowed the first few inches after the catch, then legs, then hands and legs. This is challenging but still do-able in a stable trainer.
5. I’m working my lower back flexibility and strength in the gym with bands and weights, and on a stretching machine I have at home. Yoga starts in the fall. Also, I try to focus in the boat on keeping my body forward and abs tight without overly rounding or raising the shoulders when the stroke begins–I seem to hear a familiar voice telling me not to give up the body over! BTW, when I told my gym trainer that you’d noticed hip flex as an issue, she said you should have seen me 8 months ago—she’s been hammering on this for a while. So still a work in progress, but better than a month ago.
6. I had the opportunity to row in a club quad for the first time. This is mostly social, but my first time out I got positive feedback from the rest of the crew and I think I helped move the boat and matched strokes well.
Thanks again for your help, and I look forward to a trip out next year.