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Monday
Jul182011

Popular (and not-so-popular) Rowing Drills

By: Josh Schuler and Rob Jagnow
Site Link: MIT Rowing 

Rowing Drills: The Basics 

 

Name of Drill

How to Do the Drill

Purpose/Focus of the Drill: What the Drill helps you to work-on

Forward Pick

This is the standard warm-up drill for most crews. Done by 4's or 6's. Isolate the different parts of the recovery and drive. Start with arms only (being sure to keep your back in the finish position) – just use your arms. After 20+ strokes, add your back (being sure to sit-up and extend forward). After 20+ strokes, go to ½ slide. After 20+ strokes, go to full slide. Repeat with other combinations of 4 or 6.

  • Isolates the different parts of the recovery and drive sequence and helps you feel how they're supposed to flow together
  • Body preparation

Reverse pick (sometimes called the Korzinowski drill)

Done by 4's or 6's. Isolate the different parts of the drive. With the boat checked-down, start with the legs -- a short stroke during which you just "pop" your legs down. Be sure you're hanging on your arms and keeping your body/back in the same position they're in at the catch -- just use your legs. After 20+ strokes, add your back -- still hanging on your arms. After 20+ strokes, add your arms and row normally. Repeat with other combinations of 4 or 6. Be sure you're sitting up tall during this drill.

  • Isolates the different parts of the drive sequence and helps you feel how they're supposed to flow together

Whistle Catches

Typically done in the tanks -- you row normally, ready to catch whenever the coach/cox whistles or calls out "catch"

  • Quick catches

High-rating catches

Similar to the normal catch drill, but you do it at a higher rating – quicker hands away, controlled slide up.

  • Coordination

Quarter or Half Slide Rowing

All 8 if possible. By 6's if necessary. Row only using ¼ or ½ of the slide at a high rating, full press.

  • Quick catches

Square-Wide-6

Done by 6's. Take a wide grip on the oar handle (inside hand on the black plastic) and during the recovery, run the blade handle at gunwale-level. At the same time, stretch your body/chest forward and up (you accomplish this by arching your back slightly and pointing your chest towards the cox). Your hands are pushing down while your body is pushing up, opposite directions. You should feel a stretch in your back and hamstrings. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and catch only by unweighting your hands.

  • Proper body positioning throughout the recovery
  • Body flexibility

Feet-out

Done by all 8 if possible, by 6's if necessary. Remove your feet from your shoes and place them on top. Row normally, trying to maintain the correct amount of layback without falling backwards.

  • Balance and layback positioning



Bladework 

Name of Drill

How to Do the Drill

Purpose/Focus of the Drill: What the Drill helps you to work-on

Square-Finish

Row normally, but remove the blade square at the finish and keep it square until your arms are fully extended, then feather. Re-square the blade as you would normally -- between the knees and ankles. Repeat with other combinations of 4 or 6.

  • Prevents "feathering under" -- feathering while the blade is still finishing the stroke
  • Oar/Blade control

Square-Feather Alternating

Done by 6's. 30 Stroke pieces. 6 row normally for 20 strokes on the square. Add-in pair for last 10 strokes on the feather with all 8. Repeat with other combinations of 6.

  • Blade control

Italian Feather

Done by 4's or 6's. Row normally, but remove the blade square and feather the blade only slightly – 10% feather or 90% square, think about in whichever terms work for you. Re-square the blade as you would normally -- between the knees and ankles. Repeat with other combinations of 4 or 6.

  • Blade control

Cut-the-Cake

Every three strokes, let the boat flow under you during the recovery and go to arms away, then back to the finish, then arms away again as you complete the stroke as normal.

  • Coordination
  • Oar/Blade control

Outside arm only

By 4's or 6's on the square. Row normally, using only your outside arm. Place you inside arm either in your lap or behind your back, whichever is more comfortable. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed and catch only by unweighting your hand.

  • Blade height during the recovery and depth during the drive
  • Blade control at the catch and finish
  • To connect with the lat muscles
  • Hand-height



Acceleration 

Name of Drill

How to Do the Drill

Purpose/Focus of the Drill: What the Drill helps you to work-on

Pair Add-in

A given pair starts rowing full-slide, 1/2-3/4 Press. After 20+strokes, another pair adds-in until all 8 are rowing; repeat so that each pair starts the sequence. When 5&6 start, add-in 3&4, then Bow pair, then Stern pair; When 3&4 start, add-in Bow pair, then 5&6, then Stern pair; when Bow pair starts, add-in Stern pair (this helps Bow-Stern coordination), then 3&4, then 5&6.

  • To feel acceleration in the boat
  • To feel your and others' impact on boat speed
  • Coordination

4-Stroke Acceleration

Done by 6's. Check the boat down. From the finish position (blades squared and buried), you're going to take a total of 4 strokes in the sequence:
Coxswain should call out “row” for each stroke
Stroke 1: Just go the catch and drop the blade in. Take the blade out of the water and return to the finish for Stroke 2.
Stroke 2: Go to the catch, drop the blade in, and just let the oar move through the water – 1% press – and return to the finish for Stroke 3.
Stroke 3 (acceleration stroke): Go to the catch, drop the blade in at 40% press and accelerate through the stroke to a 70% press finish. Sit ready for Stroke 4.
Stroke 4: Normal stroke – 100% press throughout. Repeat sequence with other combinations of 6.

  • Acceleration

Acceleration drill

With all 8 rowing normally, add pressure as you progress through the stroke. 20+ strokes @ Paddle press catch to 1/2 Press finish; 20+ strokes @ 1/2 Press catch to 3/4 Press finish; 20+ strokes @ 3/4 Press catch to Full Press finish.

  • To feel acceleration in the boat
  • Proper finish heights
  • Drive sequence/power
  • To train yourself to feel the difference b/t your own power levels
  • Helps you build strength for the weakest part of the stroke, the arm pull-in

5+ & Glide

After checking the boat down, take anywhere from 5-20 hard strokes at a low rating (below 20spm), then let the boat run out under you at the hands-away position. You should be going for maximum run during the strokes and maximum distance and solid set during the glide.

  • To feel acceleration in the boat
  • To feel the impact that being "off" by a little can have on the set and send of the boat

Big Daddy Drill (iteration of the 5+ & Glide)

Same as 5+ & Glide, but at a VERY LOW rating (about 15spm or less) -- pry the boat.

  • To feel acceleration in the boat
  • To feel the impact that being "off" by a little can have on the set and send of the boat



Alternative

Name of Drill

How to Do the Drill

Purpose/Focus of the Drill: What the Drill helps you to work-on

Eyes closed rowing

Rowing normally, close your eyes and continue to row. Listen carefully.

  • To feel the boat and the other rowers

Nukes

Forward Option: Sitting at the finish, lift the blade out of the water and spin the handle quickly clockwise or counter-clockwise (rowers choice) up to the catch. Drop the blade in and take a normal stroke.
Reverse Option: Sitting at the finish, back the blade through the water normally. Lift the blade out at the catch and spin the handle quickly clockwise or counter-clockwise (rower's choice) up to the finish. Drop the blade in a take a normal back stroke

  • None really.

Screaming Eagles

Must be done all 8 if done at all. Not to be done in a brand-new boat, and best if done during the summer. Coaches typically will get pissed if they see you doing this -- therefore only the most talented and fun-loving crews should attempt it. You must be especially good at keeping the boat well-set during long glides. Remove your feet from the shoes and place them on top. When ready, take 5 very full press strokes and let it run. Immediately when you start to glide, everyone must quickly and smoothly shove their handle under their outside leg and pin the oar ischulerjoshua@hotmail.comn the squared position so it's off the water, and then place their outstretched arms over their heads, palms-out. All 8 must then beat their arms up and down (5-10 times) like wings TOGETHER and scream. If you're lucky and all do it perfectly at the same time, you're in for a treat. If you're unlucky, I hope you're not around any other crews.

 

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