On Water Rowing Course Lesson 6 - Control and Rhythm
Please print this document and use to remind yourself and the athlete of how to control the recovery and achieve good rhythm when they are training.
It is essential that the athlete has a basic understanding of the correct body movements before undertaking this skill lesson. If they have not already completed the Ergo series of skills, then we strongly suggest having them view the video in Ergo Skill 5 - Rhythm
We suggest starting with the athletes all sitting in the finish position with their blades square and buried in the water. At this point, please check that the handles are at about heart monitor strap height, if not please adjust by lifting the athlete with a seat pad or lifting the gate higher (rigger clips) please see here for more detail. Rowing Skill 2 - Boat setup on water
Teaching Rhythm in the boat is vital as without rhythm the boat will not be able to run as well as it should. Hence its speed will be reduced, and the athletes will have to work harder. Relaxation and control are the two most important aspects needed to achieve good rhythm and boat run. If the athlete has a tight grip and is tense in the boat, particularly on the recovery, then the rhythm is hard to achieve. Therefore ensure that the athletes have a loose grip and are relaxed on the recovery.
The next item to teach is to have the athlete control their movement into the catch position. It is essential to make sure that the seat moves with the speed of the boat on the last half of the slide, in particular, let the boat run and avoid pushing on the footplate unless this force is equal to the force exerted against the gate with the oar handles. Any other weight on the footplate before the oar is connected in the water will slow the boat and reduce the boat run.
The easiest way to teach this is to have the athlete maintain small pressure on the oars outwards against the gate, offset by an equal pressure on the footplate. This has the added benefit of in part supporting the upper body and therefore reducing the possibility of "falling" into the catch where the upper body drops at the catch. This control of the last part of the recovery is vital in achieving rhythm. With the oars flat on the water practice having the athletes push themselves into the catch with their oars and push themselves out of the catch with their legs and repeat until they understand this controlled movement.
Once this sequence is understood, have the crew row with power on but at a slow rate, say 16spm, if they then focus on a smooth flowing sequence of body movements they will gain the sensation of rhythm. Powerful stroke and then a long recovery time with relaxation and control.
It is essential that the movements are smooth and easier if the oar handle leaves the body at the same speed that it arrived, then the shoulders commence moving at the same speed followed by the seat moving at the same rate, only once the seat nears half-slide should its speed reduce coming towards the catch. The seat speed should then match the speed of the boat to maximize boat run as the athletes control their momentum into the front as described above.
Continue to have the crew row normally but with oars on the water during recovery and utilizing the lazy feather technique. Make sure that they are focussing on a powerful, smooth drive and a relaxed and controlled recovery trying to maximize boat run. If the crew are capable of balancing the boat, then they can practice this skill with their oars off the water.
In the video below we discuss how to teach rowing with rhythm and control. The pdf to the right below contains the most critical aspects, and we suggest that you print this and take it with you to follow as needed.
Extra videos with further information control and rhythm:
For when the athletes cannot achieve the correct body positions we have extra videos with further information, click here:
On Water Rowing Course Lessons: