Nowadays, we are surrounded by technology. Most people can’t go five minutes without looking at their phones. Rowing can provide a nice break, but even then we often have a speed trainer, smart watch, heart rate monitor, or other device with us. I wonder if anyone is able to just listen to their body and their boat, trust the sensations to determine how the boat is moving and how hard the body is working.
I’m not saying technology isn’t useful, but I encourage everyone to skip a few lines without all the devices. Learn how to figure out what’s right for you rather than just seeing what the numbers are. We often become too reliant on numbers, thinking that we “should” row at a certain pace instead of just finding a pace that works for us.
We insist on fluidity in the boat; merge each movement seamlessly into the next. Instead of “arm-to-body sliding,” which often leads to robotic and mechanical movement, aim for a movement that matches the flow of the boat gliding across the water. We train the body-slide-catch with the body and arms moving together out of the arc. We’re looking for the knees to come up early so that the hamstrings can relax and the body angle can be fully adjusted by half the slide, then catching up at the very end of the slide.
Staying light on the feet at the hook will help minimize control while leading to a smooth transition from hook to player. Aim for minimal negative effect on the boat. On the record, we’re looking to unroll the body, again merging the parts seamlessly and staying horizontal throughout the ride.
Many YouTube videos show elite rowers on crystal clear waters with a beautiful background rowing at very low speeds, often with a break at the finish. But if you watch these same rowers in a race situation, there is no longer a break – there is no time! While break exercises have their benefits, remember that they are meant to be an exercise, not a permanent part of stroke.
Note also that never in a race there is a ratio of 2 to 1 between recovery time and driving time. Again, there is simply no time. So don’t practice rowing at a 2 to 1 ratio and then ask yourself why you can’t increase the stroke rate when you run. And just because your competition can row at rate X doesn’t mean that rate is best for you. You have to find out what works for you.
Learn to feel the boat, find a rhythm that will work most effectively for you. Usually you will then discover a stroke rate that matches that rhythm or the heart rate that matches that level of exertion, but the numbers can change depending on all kinds of variables while that innate feeling is what will stick with it. you. Learn to trust your body.