RowPerfect Shop subscribe to newsletter

Can a fit novice beat an experienced rower?

A reader asked us the question “Do you have any rough formula for how much speed bad technique can … read more

Share this Post

A reader asked us the question

“Do you have any rough formula for how much speed bad technique can take from an otherwise strong boat? I think a lot about how much good technique can compensate for if an experienced crew with good technique races against a very fit novice boat who might not have great ratio and no control on the recovery, for example.”

I don’t have a formula but I know that a very fit novice will be easily beaten by an unfit experienced crew – every time. Every. Single. Time.

The trouble with rowing and sculling is that fitness for rowing (as opposed to general fitness) only provides around 35% of the total boat speed.  That percentage is a guess. The skill of moving a boat forwards and not retarding its progress far outpaces fitness in terms of creating speed for your crew.

In my view, the fittest novice (or one-year or two-year rower) just does not stand a chance of beating someone who is skilled at using their body weight and strength to propel the shell. Plus the skilled person’s ability to handle the oars and their body mass on the recovery part of the stroke means they slow the boat down far less (like 10x less) than the novice crew.

I’m sorry if that isn’t an answer you want to hear – I know it sounds like the deck is stacked against the novice.
What do other readers think?

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This form stores your name, E-Mail and content so that we can evaluate the comments. More information: visit our Privacy Policy page.

Blog Related Posts

Watkins wins the UK Trials single scull title

Anna Watkins claimed the title of Britain’s leading female rower ending Katherine Grainger’s six year spell dominating at… read more

How to Make a Great Race out of a Rowing Race

FISA are providing races for Olympians where the stakes are high, where we want to see which crew… read more

Crew Watch App

Crew Watch is an app made by rowers for rowers that aims to solve many of the common… read more

RowPerfect Shop subscribe to newsletter