In Marlene’s description of the sculling stroke she describes preferring applying the swing earlier in the stroke than what other coaches have instructed (legs, back, arms) please provide the rationale for this preference.
Marlene Royle’s answer: I do not coach an extremely segmented style, I coach a more collected style emphasizing drive suspension and body weight so the peak
force is through the perpendicular, waiting until the leg drive is all the way down puts quite a lot of stress on the back especially for masters and if one’s posture is not firm. To develop good flow in a stroke there should be smooth overlap of the muscle groups.
I tend to start the swing just as the oar is perpendicular to the boat— I seem to maintain suspension – should the arms add in before the back finishes.
You would have to look at your hips and weight on the seat to see if you are holding the suspension or not. If the bow drops at the release the suspension is not being held. If weight settles on the seat during the drive weight is not being held. So you have to look at those things.
The closeness of sequencing of muscle groups can vary from athlete to athlete depending on their dimensions. I am looking for arms/body/legs completing close to the same time, weight into the pin so you do not drop weight on the seat at the release and transition away.
As long as the legs and hips fire first the body swing is a stylistic element of a coach, once the heels are down and hips moving you can begin to swing, as a “cookbook” reference start to draw the arms when the wrists are over the knees. Yes before the back finishes. But this is how I coach for a sculler, an 8+ moves faster so the timing might be a little different but I still would not wait so long to bring on the arms. Essentially you have to look at the rowers and see their sequencing and where their weight is being applied through the drive.
Learn more about the Rowing Stroke Drive Phase
- Imagine holding the end of a length of chain or rope lying on the ground (a slinky is even more fun!). Move your end sharply to one side and back and watch the other end move. How do you get the fastest, whippiest movement from that last link? The answers are in our six article sequence about the Rowing Stroke, Rowing Stroke Drive.
- Developing Stroke Power ebook
- Article: How to improve your strength and get good drive – Clue – it’s by getting powerful
- Rowing Stronger ebook by Will Ruth – Strength Training to Maximize Rowing Performance