The catch is one of the most important parts of the rowing stroke and it’s over in a fraction of time.
It probably takes between 0.3-04 second for the catch to be executed. And during that timeframe, the athlete has to steady themselves into the front, have the blade square, turn their core on, put the blade into the water, change direction as far as far as the leg drive is concerned and it all happens in that very short timeframe.
So it’s important for a few things to be understood
- Do as much as you can before you get to the catch
- Have the blade square and ready to go into the water; have your core turned on
- Don’t come into the front in a hurry so you don’t have to do a lot of changing of direction with your legs
- To execute the catch you have to put the blade into the water before your leg drive commences
The timing of this is really critical and takes only a fraction of a second so it needs to be practiced.
Ken Davey suggests that you film the athletes as they are taking the catch and film the blade going into the water and the body at the same time. And you will soon see (as will your athletes) if they are not actually getting the blade into the water before the leg drive occurs. There will be some body movement in the best of athletes.
Watch the video – the blade should be able to go into the water a little like the bow of a boat – it parts the water and you see a little bit of movement coming up the blade on both sides. If you like a little bit of front-splash and a little bit of backsplash. Not an excess of both. I suggest you get them to watch that, get the athletes to understand it and then watch the Decent Rowing Video on pausing at the catch because that’s a really good technique to get athletes to understand what we are trying to do.
The intent of pausing at the catch is not to have it as part of the rowing stroke, it’s purely there to demonstrate that you can sit at the catch without fear and you can put the blade into the water very precisely if you have everything else done and that’s all you are focusing on.
The catch: Over in a fraction of a second, but vital to having a good rowing stroke.