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Duncan Holland on Rowing Routines: Make the Most of Your Time

Rowing Routines/ Rote Procedure As I watched eight-oared crews move toward the start from the launching area during a … read more

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Rowing Routines/ Rote Procedure

As I watched eight-oared crews move toward the start from the launching area during a regatta I noticed a common trend. Almost all the crews started by rowing in fours and most by rowing arms only then body over. The vast majority of the crews did this appallingly badly and I wondered why.

My conclusion was that they did it because they always did it, if that is not too circular. You know how it is at training; the crew gets on the water, the coach is still busy fixing something or answering some important question and the crew rows off in the charge of the coxswain and just goes through the motions. Bow four, square blades arms only row, bodies over, ½ slide, full slide. Now the stern four. And so on.

The Session

The session only really starts after the so called warm up and the crew have just wasted 15 or more minutes of valuable on water time. Routine is: regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.

Shouldn’t you have your crew do something for a warm-up that is relevant to the session that is planned, that actually warms the bodies and that is supervised and corrected? None of us have the luxury of wasting training time – the opposition might be using theirs constructively.

The Solution

So I suggest vary your warm-ups. Make the warm up fit the session goal and make it challenging. If you are racing then warm the bodies and awaken the brains. If you are planning to practise a skill then use exercises relevant to that day. One size doesn’t fit all.

There’s no delicate way to put this. If you’re a regular Rowperfect reader, you’re just . . . well . . . smarter than most people looking to improve their rowing, sculling, coxing or coaching.

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