What land exercises can I do to improve slide control, so that I have more control going to the catch position?
Great question – and fantastic that you what to self-tutor on this. Getting into the habit of working out how to make these
changes yourself is a really great skill.
Several solutions for you to practice on the land and some which will transfer into the boat as well.
- First, understand what the rowing stroke should be like – Read expert coach Harry Mahon’s explanation including p3 “Float up the slide” https://www.rowperfect.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Slides-for-DVD-6.pdf
- Second – row alongside someone else who is MORE EXPERIENCED than you are…. have them sit their erg 2 feet further forward than yours so you can see exactly what they do throughout the stroke without moving your head (use peripheral vision). Add a mirror if you can so you can see yourself too. Row perfectly in time with them for 5 minutes. Get them to row at rate 20, then change to rowing at rate 22 for 5 minutes, then back to rate 20 for 5 minutes….. it is much easier to copy an expert than figure it out for yourself.
- Row on the ergo feet out of the foot straps – do your normal training without straps around your feet. …. you can rush the slide but you will better appreciate the timing of when you arrive at front stops. Then row in the boat feet out of the shoes
- The best solution is to train on a RP3 rowing simulator…. row feet out on this too. watch the top 2 videos on this page http://www.carlosdinares.com/carlos-dinares-tip-495-rushing-the-slide-to-the-rowing-catch/
- Have a metronome in the boat or on the ergo set to a consistent beep (the Coxmate SX has this function) and get the crew to do a drill at 16 strokes per minute where each athlete tries to be the LAST person to arrive at the catch – full compression.You must not stop moving up the slide during the drill – stay continuously moving but at low rate.
- Do reverse ratio drill – instead of trying to control the slide, do the opposite for 10 strokes. Rush as FAST as you can to the catch (put the oar in the water) and then go very slowly through the power phase (oar in the water), as soon as you have taken the oar out at the finish RUSH to the catch. Then do 10 strokes of the opposite ratio – rush through the power phase of the rowing stroke oar in the water, and go slow up the slide i.e. normal rowing. Focus on making a clear contrast between the rush and non-rush.
- Do the drill Double Quick Hands and Double Slow Slide – row normally and then for 10 stroke take the oar out at the finish and move your hands away / body over and just break the knees TWICE as fast as normal….. as soon as the knees are bent, go TWICE as slow up the slide to the catch. You can do this on the erg and in the boat.
- Read this expert article by Troy Howell of Craftsbury Sculling Centre about teaching ratio and rhythm. https://www.rowperfect.co.uk/teaching-rowers-rhythm-and-ratio/
- And this one about coaching a long stroke – by taking the focus away from the rush and coaching the long stroke you can improve the acceleration in the power phase and reduce the deceleration in the recovery phase https://www.rowperfect.co.uk/coaching-a-long-stroke-in-rowing/
- Read this discussion on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/Rowing/comments/1bixk0/how_to_combat_crippling_rush_in_the_boat_lack_of/
- Get your coxswain to “cox” an ergo session for the crew and have him/her read this article on how to identify rush and what to do about it https://readyallrow.wordpress.com/tag/rush/
Controversially, I will say that you can actually go up the slide quite fast (which could be called rushing) if you are skilful and don’t miss the catch placement. Your ability and skill in actually placing the blade in the water at the catch before you change direction on the slide is directly proportional to the possibility you have of rushing the slide. High skill = you can ‘rush’ a bit.
The more proficient you are, the more you can rush and not slow the boat down. So if you are coaching novices or low skill rowers you cannot let them rush the slide because you cannot place the oar and pick up the boat before you crash the stern down into the water and slowing down the forward momentum.