Why a perfect rowing puddle is like an elephant’s rear end

elephant back view, rear end elephant

When you watch a golfer hit a shot many times they look down at their divot which they use as guidance as to what did or did not happen in their swing. When rowing I suppose our”divot” is a puddle. Can you read much into a puddle? Does such a thing as a perfect puddle exist? What if anything should you be looking for? Shane Flynn

Shane – you ask a great question.

Duncan Holland’s view on the perfect puddle

elephant back view, rear end elephant
Why a rowers puddle is like an elephant’s rear end. Image Credit: Tanzafari
I have heard physicists say it doesn’t make any difference whether the blade moves water or stays locked and moves the boat only the force generated is the same, and thus, a washy puddle is not a problem.
I have however always coached for a deep swirly puddle.
I believe that when a rower puts the blade in on time and cleanly, applies a lot of force to the handle, and then extracts cleanly and neatly the boat will go faster.  This kind of rowing gives a deep, swirly puddle as opposed to a small or frothy one.
Froth is good for beer only.
The Dutch say that a puddle should be like part of an elephant’s rear end; deep dark and nearly bottomless.

Coaching by looking at puddle size.

Comparing puddles between rowers is particularly useful in an eight.  With a row of four puddles it is relatively easy to diagnose differences between power and connection from seat to seat.

One thought on “Why a perfect rowing puddle is like an elephant’s rear end

  1. Adrian Ellison says:

    Back in the mid-nineteen eighties, Mike Spracklen used to ask his rowers to create puddles “like rosebuds” – in other words they were small and tight at the instant of the release, but then ‘blossomed’ and expanded as the boat moved past them. Definitely no froth!
    I would guess that most rowers would be more familiar with the appearance of a rosebud than an elephant’s rear end!

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