Correcting sculling wrist fault


I have a habit of letting the oar collar slip slightly loose from the rigger on stroke side, despite applying thumb pressure. I have not been able to correct this despite all attempts. I am wondering if it may be connected to a different problem on bow side, where I have a habit of rowing too deep, i.e. lifting the oar too high, in an arc. Could my shoulder alignment somehow be causing both problems? Any drills you can suggest? Thanks for all help!

From our article – Sculling grip do you cock your wrist?

Sculling coach analysis

To be honest, without a video of you sculling, I’d be hard-pressed to diagnose the ’cause’ and relating it to your bow side deep diving oar…. sorry.

rowing in backwater, rowing quietly, rowing drills, World Rowing Find a quiet place in a bay out of the way of other rowers. PhotoCredit: World Rowing

As far as drills go – here are a couple to try out.  These need to be completed mindfully – and so if you can find a quiet backwater out of the way of other water users, that’s best.  Then you don’t have to worry about getting in the way of other rowers.

  1. While in your single. Row square blades with one oar at a time – going round in a circle. Leave the other oar flat on the water. Concentrate on correct depth, correct hand placement on the handle grip and correct pressure on the thumb. Go round three times. Then swap to the other oar, square blades and go round three times in the opposite direction.
  2. Again in your single. Row feathered blades with one oar at a time – as above. Notice what helps correct both your small errors and how you can tell if you’re doing it right vs incorrectly.
  3. Scull away with both oars. Stop rowing when one or other error appears.
  4. Row with one oar as 1 2 above. Continue doing this until you can scull away for 30 strokes without either issue arising. Stop, pat yourself on the back.

The need for mindful practice is high here.  Do not expect to “fix” long term stroke patterns in a single outing.

What will help you to make the change is to practice these drills every time you go rowing as part of your warm up.  Remember you have done thousands of strokes in one way and you’re now trying to change – it will take time to ingrain.  And when you’re tired, most athletes revert back to previous habits.

Go well!


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