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

When you watch a golfer hit a shot many times they look down at their divot which they … read more

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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.

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

  1. 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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