Please print these documents and use to remind yourself and the athlete of how to best ensure that you have good connection at the catch for better performance.
One of the most important parts of the rowing stroke is the catch. A good catch has the following key characteristics:
The crew should initially practice moving into the catch position with the oars flat on the water then moving back to half slide again with the oars flat on the water. In this drill they should concentrate on activating their glutes and lower core muscles just before the catch and then maintaining a relaxed grip and shoulders as they move back to half slide. Repeat this exercise a few times to reinforce the correct movement before moving to putting the blade in the water.
Next have the bow person sit and balance the boat with their oars flat on the water while the balance of the crew practice moving into the catch then, and very important, make sure that they place the blade in the water before they push with their legs. This will seem hard for them to do initially as timing this part of the catch is particularly difficult.
One way to make this easier is to have the athlete put outward pressure on the blades and essentially push themselves into the catch with an equal amount of pressure on the footplate. Then at the catch all they need to do is lift their arms and then increase the pressure on the footplate to commence the drive.
We suggest that the person balancing the boat is rotated through the boat and once the athletes can get connected to the water before the drive commences then have the entire crew row with this technique.
It is critical that the athletes concentrate on the sequence of placing the blade and connecting with the water before driving with the legs. If they delay their leg drive too much then they will feel the handle pushed by the water against them and all they need to do is place the blade the same time and bring the commencement of the leg drive a small amount earlier for a perfectly timed catch.
Finally, if the athlete manages to get a perfect connection then the catch will feel heavy, this is how it should feel as the boat is at its slowest at the catch.
In the video below we demonstrate the above drills and the pdf to the right below contains the photos and descriptions. We suggest that you print this and take it with you to follow as needed during the session.
Extra videos with further information catch connection:
For when the athletes cannot achieve the correct body positions we have extra videos with further information, click here:
On Water Rowing Course Lessons: