Readers will remember our affection for Jimmy Joy’s work on explaining “flow” and mental preparation for sculling and rowing. He has published two books and just wrote a third exclusively for Rowperfect.
The Quantum Sculler is written for the sculling coach and the athlete and contains new insights into how to coach flow, which drills and exercises to use and what the athlete must practice in order to make it happen for himself when he’s on the water. As Jimmy writes
Scott Ford in his coaching has identified a mechanism for achieving the Flow state and this paper is an attempt to do the same for the sculler
Jim has taken the highest form of sculling achievement and dedicated his energies to explaining this to us so that we too can share the delight of achieving flow in sculling.
Extracts from The Quantum Sculler
The blade action must be a moment in the present otherwise it becomes a moment in the past. The mind in thinking preparation is in the wrong place. It is in the future rather than being in the present.
On teaching beginners
With a conventional approach the beginner would be encouraged and prodded to make an early squaring action of the blade, then place it with a deliberate action into the water and then pull. This action in comparison to the sculler’s movement is slow, more time-consuming, and mechanical. It leads to a definite pausing of the blade above the water. This instruction is more elaborate and serial in nature; there is too much instruction and not enough doing by the sculler. With this approach, the critique of the movements is continued until a perceived perfection is achieved. It is a perfection in inefficiency.
Coaches and biomechanicians stand on their heads to attest to the effectiveness of this teaching approach. It does fit in nicely with the fragmented physics. This method is totally concerned with the blade action and there is no addressing of the body position and movement at the entry. It is a serious oversight when only the blade action, the squaring above the water, is addressed.
This is the point at which I began my sculling instructions, and subsequently it was the same point that I began to teach sculling. We stayed at this point until the movement had been mastered. This was the hallmark of Robert Fitzpatrick’s teaching, mastering each of the movements, eliminating any and all extraneous motions. He was committed to producing an athlete in the shell. He was committed to the making of the sculler. So many people who were sluggers claimed to be sculling. This important distinction was clear in his mind and in his teaching.
Little did I realize over fifty years ago when I began my lessons under the incomparable Robert Fitzpatrick that I would reach this stage in my learning. But within two years he had me at this level. At the time he said that once you have experienced the swing, your body will never forget it, and he was right. To this day, with the first stroke I can feel the integration at the entry, the solid connected drive, and the beauty of the release, followed by the simple glide forward. The shell responds immediately, and I am carried back to those beautiful moments on the Henley course in St. Catharines.
My feeling is that we should do more as coaches to promote the art of sculling. This is really where the individual development of the mind and consciousness occurs.
Buy all Jimmy Joy’s books
The Quantum Sculler