Following Ursula Grobler’s amazing Head of the Charles win and her World Record on the ergo, we contacted her coach, Carlos Dinares, to find out the “secret” of her rapid rise within the sport.
How do you train Ursula?
I don’t use weights. We don’t use Concept2. We do use body circuits for coordination and strength and Rowperfect rowing machine for indoor rowing when weather is not good.
I will answer – 70% water, 20% Rowperfect,10% body circuits.
What’s your coaching philosophy?
First I explain to them the principles I think are in rowing:
– Change of direction.
– Use of momentums.
– Coordination of movements trough drive and recovery.
– awareness of footstretcher pressure, handle pressure and lower back fulcrum.
– Leverage, Center of mass and body weight control.
– Flyweel feel, connection and acceleration.
– accelerate the flyweel as much as possible, move as little as possible.
After that with drills and regular rowing and the use of the Rowperfect software I teach to accelerate the flyweel by feel.
I do first try to have all the members of the crew have the same idea of moving a boat and move the same way on drive and recovery. After this is achieved I can more easy match them.
- They agree on the way to use their time during the stroke and have a gathering point agree.
- They are connected during drive (not shooting slide)
- They change direction together (not losing the stretcher)
My advise for other coaches is simple:
Cas Rekers’ Rowperfect rowing machine (the original black one) is a gift of god.
This machine with few adaptations simulates on water rowing to perfection. With intuition, creativity and no fear a coach can develop training strategies that can never be achieved on the water. I do feel rowing is destroying itself by the minute with the direction it is taking.
Ursula’s power curve is not that great. She is building still her body to have similar strengths all over her body. She is still developing her coordination to perfection. Her power curve improves month to month as her body becomes more efficient and balanced.
The key of the power curve is not to copy a curve but to understand why the rower you coach has the curve it has, how you can improve the lack of strength on different parts of his body and his coordination.
After I have seen thousands of curves of athletes from all over the world, coming from different systems and different body sizes and body strengths I have concluded that the power curve is the finger print of the body situation on strength and coordination. And with good guidance and coaching will improve that after 100.000 reps of a better movement. Before this better movement can be done well the strength of the body parts need to be developed. You cannot row well if you have imbalances in your body.
The key factor is to teach coaches to help their rowers to improve their rowing and not to copy a curve that is adapted to a certain body’s dimensions and strengths.