Help I am moving my steering toe too much


I am the steersman for my crew.  And I find that I am moving my toe steering too much.

I have a really bad habit of getting a good point originally, but then moving my feet without noticing and going towards port. I’ve asked about locking the toe steering but my coach isn’t a fan. Advice?

I have a better solution than locking the steering.

Rowing toe steering Rowing toe steering

Try to work out where in the stroke your foot moves the steering wires – I’ll hazard a guess it’s during the transition from power phase to recovery.

  1. finish every stroke with your heel down, firmly pressed against the foot stretcher.
  2. rock over on the recovery keeping that heel firmly locked down
  3. only lift your heel up at the last moment before full compression
  4. during the power phase, get your heels down onto the foot stretcher early.

By giving your foot a clear reference point (the foot stretcher) you will minimise the chance of you moving the foot.

Filippi shoe clamp on footstretcher Filippi shoe clamp on footstretcher

In my boat, I have a further point of reference, I have a Filippi and the heel clamp on the foot stretcher is a lever. This can pivot around the mounting and I angle this toward my right (steering) foot so that my heel touches it when the rudder is straight. In this way, without looking, I can ‘feel’ if the rudder is straight.

Hope this helps.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Graham Cawood

    Greetings. I can understand why full foot contact helps ease your steering problem – haven’t thought of it before. The RHECON rowing style I follow advises the fitting of a heel block of perhaps 30mm to allow constant heel contact, with the following advantages.
    1. Relaxed heel and calf muscles.
    2. Good ‘feeling’ of balance in the boat.
    3. Helps foot steering (from you – thanks).

    I suggest you try the heel blocks. My wooden ones are screwed to the heels of the shoes I use on my daily erg sessions.

    Do you really need a rudder? Apart from distracting you, the rudder slows the boat..Rudder and keel work against each other, and create drag.
    Use a hat-mounted mirror to prepare for your coming course, and allow minor direction changes as you row – with the blades!.
    Have fun!

    Have fun!

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      Thanks Graham – and of course you can buy a cap mounted mirror on the Rowperfect shop.

  2. Christopher George

    I have a solution. I have steered coxless fours at both HW and LW international level and won Wyfolds and Stewards at HRR so know a bit about it
    1) slacken the steering wires
    2) try to avoid all steering with the rudder as it is not needed other than really big bends
    3) get used to steering with bow pair only and only bring in the stern pair in an emergency
    4) look down the boat at the run to the stern and see what the course is and make the changes early
    5) go out in a pair with bow pair and no rudder to get used to it

  3. John Gray

    This is a very interesting post for me.
    I am 70 and no longer rowing competitively but 7 years ago when I was still racing, the problem of steering in a double was horendous for me. As soon as I thought about anything but where my right heel was, we would be crossing lanes which is not a good look.
    For the short periods that we went in a straight line we were quite fast but that was always short lived. I had no problems with foot pressure, always sat my scull up well and single sculling in a straight line was never a problem.
    Becasue of our age, the fact that we were not doubling on a regular basis and boat resources were scarce, we were not in a position to experiment and alter the boat configuration etc. to suit ourselves.
    I now regularly use my own Australian version of the Rowperfect which has a deliberately wobbly seat which, if you do not use equal foot pressure you can literally fall off the machine. I row this for half an hour 2-3 times a week with absolutely no balance problems.
    The Australian Rowperfect has friction pads that are glued to the foot plates and I have now noticed after 4 years the left hand friction pad has completely worn away in a large area whereas the right had side pad appears to be almost as new.
    It doesnt make a lot of sense when I start thinking about right hand foot steering problems but I think that for some people this problem is probably a lot more complicated than simply setting up the boat. I do have diagnosed scoliosis and it may be that there are feet actions/reactions that are totally beyond my control.
    If in years gone by we had been in a position to remove the steering, it is likely that we would have solved this problem and been very competitive.
    John Gray

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