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Sculling heel height above the waterline

For any single type boat, which is the most effective and efficient heel position with respect to the … read more

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For any single type boat, which is the most effective and efficient heel position with respect to the waterline?

English: Sculling on the Thames A lone sculler drifts downstream past Thames promenade (this side) and some of the expensive houses on The Warren (far side).

Your question about heel hight in relation to the waterline is very interesting.

The answer is about you, the sculler. How flexible are your ankles and your legs and hips?

Most scullers want to get the longest stroke possible. Therefore if they can achieve a tight compression at the catch and reach further forward this is good for their boat speed. If you raise your feet so your heels are higher above the water line, then you may be able to reach further forward.

Can you get your shins vertical at the catch? try raising or lowering your shoes and get someone to video you so that you can see where is optimal for your flexibility.

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

3 thoughts on “Sculling heel height above the waterline

  1. You have forgotten to mention the crucial crural ratio! The crural ratio is the length of the thigh compared to the length of the shin. If the ratio is 1:1 then compression at the catch is usually good with the ball of the foot about 4 cm below the seat height. If the thigh is longer than the shin then the stretcher may need to be raised to get the best compression and vice versa if the thigh is shorter. If you favour more compression with the possibility of the shins passing the vertical or if you lack flexibility then lower the stretcher. However a lower stretcher will reduce the maximum force and power you can apply early in the drive without coming off the seat and so reduce your racing speed. But if you raise the stretcher to increase power you may reduce compression and stroke length at the catch which you need for good catch placement at higher speeds. Rigging, like life, is a compromise!
    NB on the Rowperfect the ball of the foot ( foot strap ) is 4 cm below the seat; on the C2 it is 10cm. So compression on the C2 is easier, especially for gym using non- rowers, and the Rowperfect replicates a boat more in this respect as it does in other features.

  2. I think some credit for this might (in whole or in part) belong to Trinity College Hartford Women’s coach
    Wesley Ng (2014 Coach of the year / 2014 NCAA Women’s Champions)…… He made
    and has had his own Go-Pro rigs like this on his boats for a couple of years now……

    In any case, it is simply a great indispensable training tool for crews and coaches alike
    No matter who came up with the idea…..every crew should have one.

    Happy New Year.

    Best regards,

    Steven W. Lichtenfels

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