In Rowing

February 01, 2008

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Compared to the complexities of rowing a boat on the water, indoor rowing presents few technical challenges. There are no balance issues to contend with on the erg. You don't have to feather or square your blade. There is no splashing water or risk of capsize; the coach can be standing directly next to the athlete; and everyone stays nice and warm rowing inside. All this gives you a wonderful opportunity to really get hands-on, back to basics work on the fundamental body positions and mechanics for rowing both on and off the water. If you're coaching rowers, you can have them row in front of mirrors or take video and show it right away so they get an image of what they are doing right or wrong. Show them how to relax their shoulders and how to engage their lats as they start the drive. The possibilities are nearly endless. However, in all the things I talk about in the stroke, I think I spend most of my time talking about the feet, which are so often overlooked in discussions of rowing technique.

Once I realized myself how important it is to keep contact with the feet on the foot stretchers for the final push at the finish, what it feels like to have your weight low in the feet compared to the upper body, and how to push off the balls of the feet at the catch--and how this can improve your rowing tremendously--I began to coach this to my rowers.

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