Technique Errors

Boat speed and rowing technique

Ideal: The boat stays on keel during the recovery, catch, drive, and finish; the ‘run’ of the boat is not disturbed.

Reality: Technique is not perfect during each phase of the stroke and the boat dips to one side and rocks back, slowing down each time it dips and rocks. It becomes more and more difficult to row effectively.

A crew with good team and individual technical skills will increase or maintain the speed of the boat and will not slow the boat down. This is the beginning of a fast boat!

The following information will help you to identify technique errors and offers ways to correct the errors. See the drills page for drills that will help with the proposed corrections.

What the coxswain sees or feels What the rower does to cause it Its effects on rowers and boat Solutions and drills
1 Blade is late entering and locking into the water Sets the forward body angle late and lunges at the catch

Rushes up the slide

Lacks coordination of arms and legs at the catch

The rower will be in a weak position at the catch, minimizing ability to apply power

The boat will feel sluggish because all six blades are not working together to pick the boat up

Pause drill at body forward

Catch placement drills

Steady state, low stroke rate rowing

2 The boat “checks” or moves back toward the stern

The coswain’s back slams against the back of the seat

Pushes on the foot board before the blade is in the water

Lunges forward just before the catch

Rushes the last quarter of the slide

The rower will minimize their ability to apply power

The rower misses water at the catch

The boat will slow down because it is forced to move backwards, toward the stern

Catch placement drills

Pause drills for recovery sequence

Work to establish good ratio and rhythm

3 The blade skys in the air, rather than lowering toward the water, just before the catch Moves on the seat before the body angle is set

Drops the shoulders or lunges to get more reach at the catch

Afraid of clipping the water so pushes hands down toward toes

Late blade entry and lock in – the blade is lifted away from the water instead of being lowered into the water (see #1)

The boat will dip down on the rower’s side

Pause drills to establish the forward body angle after the hands come away and before the slide starts

Blade control drills

4 Blade and shaft dig deep into the water Rower moves his or her hands and/or body vertically instead of horizontally during the drive

Rows the blade in with hands and shoulders

The rower makes the drive more difficult and less efficient

The boat will dip down on the opposite side

Blade placement drills

Legs only drill

5 The blade exits the water early, before the others, and/or creates washy water at the finish Draws the oar handle down low into the belly or hips rather than high into the ribs

Applies little to no pressure to the face of the blade at the finish

The blade slips out of the water prematurely and is unable to send the boat away

The boat will dip down on the rower’s side

Pause at the finish

Square blade rowing

6 The blade exits the water with great difficulty or gets caught in the water at the finish

It is difficult to keep the boat straight

Feathers in the water

Has a weak drive with poor coordination and transfer of power between the legs, back, and arms making it difficult to finish the stroke

Does not have enough room to tap out cleanly

Anchors the boat at the finish and forces it to turn

The boat slows down

Arms only rowing in the proper lay back position

Square blade rowing

Reverse pick drill

Delayed feather drill

7 The boat dips back and forth – sometimes it is hard to tell if it dips at the catch, drive, or finish Extra or out-of-sync movements

Poor concentration and moving the head around

Rowers are not following the same recovery sequence

Rowers are unable to row properly

Little run in boat

Overall frustration

Pause drills

Cut the cake drill

Reminders for posture, timing and concentration