This volume opens with a great article about what Fairbairn was actually like as a man and the range of controversies he engendered summarised by Peter mallory, the Editor of this 4 volume digital edition of Fairbairn On Rowing.
The middle section is a calendar of quick quotes – one for each day of the year selected from Fairbairn’s writings – great fun but some are a little out of date like “The Cox must shout loudly enough for Bow to hear him.”
Secrets of successful rowing was compiled by Fairbairn in 1930 for boat clubs to follow as a training method or system. He recommends a focus on bladework rather than coaching body position or “form”, includes great advice for coxswains to use their tone of voice to emphasise commands – which is still great advice for modern coaches.
His guidance around lateral pressure on the oar, feathering the blade correctly to a high balance on the recovery and sitting back at the finish give immensely relevant insight. Advice on teaching beginners in a stable boat (the tub) is detailed and shows which exercises teach bladework skill. I also like his advice on pointing out faults as a deterrent to learning correct movements – he prefers to demonstrate the rowing principle that the athlete has broken with his faulty movement.