Parts of the stroke and technique

The catch – part of the stroke between the recovery and the drive when the rower places the blade into the water.

The drive – part of the stroke when the legs, body, and arms work together to push the boat past the blade.

The finish – part of the stroke when the arms draw the oar handle into the body allowing the blade to complete its work in the water and to exit the water cleanly.

The recovery – part of the stroke when the blade is out of the water, the boat is ‘running’ down the lake, and the rower prepares for the next stroke.

Stroke rate – the number of strokes taken per minute. The stroke rate can vary from 18-34 (or higher).

Square blade – the blade is perpendicular to the water. The blade should be square during the catch and drive.

Feathering – turning the oar handle with the inside hand toward your body so that the blade is parallel to the water. Feathering is optional; new crews may choose not to feather.

Boat and crew

Coxswain – the person who steers the boat and is responsible for safety and directing the rowers’ actions.

Bow – the front section of the boat; the bow crosses the finish line first; number 1 rower sits closest to the bow.

Footboard – the structure that you push your feet against during the drive.

Stern – the front section of the boat; the rudder is attached to the stern; the coxswain sits closest to the stern.

Bow side – the side on the coxswains right as he or she is looking toward the bow of the boat. Know as ‘starboard’ in sliding seat boats. Bow side rowers’ oarlocks will be on this side.

Stroke side – the side on the coxswains left as he or she is looking toward the bow of the boat. Know as ‘port’ in sliding seat boats. Stroke side rowers’ oarlocks will be on this side.

Stroke oar/rower – the rower sitting closest to the coxswain. The ‘stroke’ sets the stroke rate and rhythm for the team.

Coxswain calls

Checking – if the boat ‘checks’ it moves in the wrong direction, usually at the catch; usually caused by lunging into the catch or pushing on the foot board before the blade is in the water.

Going deep – a coxswain call that one or more blades is going too deep under the surface of the water. Often caused by slamming the blade in at the catch or turning the oar handle in the water.

Half side rowing – used during drills and sometimes on the start. Rowers use the back half of the seat only. They slide halfway up the seat during the recovery and push all of the way back on the drive.

‘Hold water’ – coxswain call for one of more rowers to place their blade square in the water. This is usually done tone to turn the boat or to keep the boat in a set place (e.g. at the start).

‘Let ‘er run’ – coxwain call to stop rowing and let the boat run on its own. Rowers should sit up straight with the blade flat on the water, unless otherwise directed by the cox.

Run – refers to the distance the boat travels per stroke. If the coxswain calls ‘more run’ they want to see the boat travel farther between strokes. Poor technique and balance can kill the run of the boat.

Skying – the blade is high in the air at the catch; usually caused by dropping the hands just before the catch.