The J-Curve drill in sculling


During the next couple of weeks, our Friday posts will be about exercises to improve your technique. Let’s have a look at the J-Curve drill!

This helps to teach correct handle movement at the finish and also keeping the scull balanced.

The drill starts at the finish with the oars buried under the water – handles near the lower ribs (i.e. at the finish position).  The drill is done when the boat is stationery.

There are 3 steps:

Step 1.  The athlete taps the oars out of the water just enough to clear the tips over the water’s surface.  And then releases to re-bury the oars under the water.  Up and down.  Keep repeating.  This teaches them to sit still but poised posture and the correct hand movement to extract the oars from the water.

Step 2.  Tap out the oars and extend the arms to the ‘hands away’ position.  Feather the oars while making the movement.  Correctly done, this ends at a ‘high balance’ position with the oar spoons high above the water, feathered.  If the athlete is a beginner, allow them to make this movement but finish with oars flat on the water (they will lift their hands to achieve the stability)  This is an OK intermediate stage as they learn to integrate  the feathering after the oar extraction.

Step 3.  Tap out the oars and extend the arms to the hands away position but exaggerate the tap down-and-away movement making the shape of the letter J.  This HAS to finish at high balance.  When complete, return the handles to the finish position, square the oars and bury under the water’s surface and then do it again (and again).

Try integrating the J-curve into full slide normal paddling.  If the boat wobbles – get them to do the J-curve movement correctly, but then follow Step 2 above and allow them to put the oars flat on the water’s surface for the rest of the recovery.  In this way the boat will be stable, but they do practice the correct movement at the finish which should encourage stability as they gain confidence in the handle movements.


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