At the start of the stroke, when the cox has said ‘Forward to row’, you lean forward
from the waist, with back straight and your shoulders just forward of vertical in
a comfortable position.
Your arms will stretch forward again to a comfortable position. The knees will have
bent upwards and feet well planted on the footrest. Your handgrip needs to berelaxed;
fingers hooked around the handle at just less than shoulder width apart, with the
wrists straight, level with the forearms.
The outer hand is the main puller and the inside hand is the guiding and lesser pulling
hand. (Also the feather operating hand- see later).
You must be relaxed above all, straight-backed to enable your legs and arms to connect
and coiled like a spring, ready for the next phase.
This is the body set up that you will use. REMEMBER: comfortable and relaxed – no
B The Catch = The blade enters the water
From the forward position you raise your hands to place the blade into the water.
Carefully place the blade vertically into the water. Do not slash the blade into
the water at an angle. Don’t snatch at the oar handle. The blade should enter the
water at same speed that the boat is travelling with the minimum disturbance to the
movement of the boat.
You are allowed a small splash at the back of the oar which proves that you have
entered the water nicely.
C The Drive
When the blade is covered, push hard on the footrest and bring the thigh muscles
into play, keeping the arms and the back straight. Pivot from the hips. When the
shoulders are above the hips, bring in the arms strongly. Finish this phase with
the elbows drawn down and the hands in the chest and leaning back just past the vertical.
Throughout the drive, keep the body square on to the stern: don’t squirm from side
D Extraction of the Blade
Lower your hands briskly to extract the blade vertically from the water. Great! You
completed the stroke.
Now comes the crucial part of obtaining the classic rhythm and poise of rowing. It
is this that you must stamp into your system, to carry you through the rest of your
E Recovery - Moving into the next stroke
This is a most important technique.
Extract the blade vertically (here you would roll it onto the feather – see later)
by dropping the hands quickly and smoothly down from the chest with a straight
back. Then moving hands and arms forwards. In this part of the stroke you use “fast
hands” and this gives time for slowing down in the second part of the recovery.
(The hands are higher if the water is calm and lower if it is rough.)
Continue in this manner until half way to the start of the next stroke. Really relax
here. Back straight, hands loose.
From this half-way point begin to slow down, back straight well-relaxed body. It’s
the thinking and even resting stage. Take the hands and arms forward, as well as
swinging the upper body forward, gradually slowing down to a pause, (while, if feathering,
rolling the blade square ready for entering the water). This important slowing down
phase gives you the rhythm and poise in your rowing.
You then place the oar into the water. You’re now into the next stroke.
The above is tricky at first, but with some very slow paddling exercises can soon
be achieved. It will give pleasure and a feeling of a job well done.
Feathering is an aerodynamic procedure. Into a wind it gains the boat some distance
and makes it easier to handle the oar.
At the end of the stroke, just after the blade leaves the water, turn the oar handle,
with the inside hand, wrist having been straight, so that the blade rolls backwards
through 90 degrees. Roll it with the button pressed up against the gate. Make sure
not to twist it suddenly with a loose button.
On reaching the start of the next stroke roll the blade back into the vertical again
just before entering the water.