How to coach connection for rowing and sculling


We’ve got a great tutorial for you today – how to improve your athletes’ ability to ‘connect’ to the water at the catch of the power phase.

The information comes from a rowing seminar hosted last weekend at the Kossev Symposium in Seattle, USA on “Innovative Leadership in Rowing and Sport”.

What is the biggest impact you can have on technique in an hour?

Carlos Dinares says that improving connection is where he thinks he can make the largest gains to technique. Connection is the ability to increase the loading on the blade. It is also how to teach not shooting the slide.

Here’s how he does it. [3:45 on video]

  • Tell the athlete to row on the Rowperfect3 with the Joules measure displayed.
  • Tell them what joules they are pulling and explain that we want to increase the number
  • The athlete then tries harder and creates a higher Joules score because he’s pushing harder
  • Instruct them to find a pressure they are happy holding consistently (it can be firm or not – just get consistency)
  • Explain that we’re going to start changing the body and how you move
  • Tell them to ‘block’ and hold their core and lower back firm while opening the back with their legs while rowing
  • The athlete will try and ‘nothing’ will happen to the score
  • Suddenly one stroke he will hit a higher number – like 100 Joules more
  • This shows he connected and successfully introduced more power to the stroke
  • Tell them that is what you’re looking for. BUT don’t try to repeat it, don’t try to think about what you did – just remember how you felt on that stroke
  • Usually the athlete doesn’t know what he did to make it happen. Tell them to continue rowing and they’ll get another one
  • Which they do
  • Every time you get one of those higher joules strokes, feel and notice what you feel
  • Then try to reproduce that feeling

After they are beginning to improve their connection, Carlos moves onto the three principles of the power curve

  1. A curve that is round and big
  2. A curve that always goes out (convex) if it has a concave anywhere it means there’s a lack of pressure on the chain
  3. Proportionate – to the strength and weight of the athlete


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