Body Movements & Timing

If rowers’ movements are different or they are not moving together during the recovery, catch, drive, and or finish, the boat will not be supported equally on both sides. The boat will rock to one side and roll back making it difficult to run smoothly and making it difficult to maintain good rowing technique.

The following table outlines errors related to movement and timing and offers corrections. In addition, rhythm and ratio of the rowing stroke and rower concentration and focus are major contributing factors to boat balance and speed.

Possible Causes Correction
Rowers movements are different from each other. Rowers should know and practice the recovery and drive sequences for the team.
Rowers are not moving as one unit; their timing is off. Rowers should anticipate and follow the movements of the rower directly in front of them; watch the outside shoulder or between the shoulders blades of the rower.
Rowers have unnecessary movements such moving their heads in the boat. Rowers should minimize unnecessary movements; concentrate and focus at all times.
Rowers have excessive movements such as excessive layback or slamming the catch. Rowers should tame excessive movements – this takes concentration, focus, and practice.

Rhythm & ratio

Concentration & focus

Poor concentration, unfocused attention, and distracting mental thoughts are often the contributing factors to poor technique and performance. In order to improve your rowing stroke and minimize mistakes, rowers must be able to focus on what what they are doing and block out everything else

Rowers are often caught looking around, which is a sure sign of poor concentration. Other issues are harder to see – doubts about technique or conditioning; work, school, or social thoughts.

Coxswains will often remind rowers to concentrate but how do rowers do this? What do they focus on?

First, it is important for rowers to get a good feel for each aspect of the stroke. When practicing, rowers can focus on improving easy aspect so they get it perfect. Focus attention on the recovery sequence and feel the boat moving during the recovery; then move attention to the catch and focus on the dropping the oar and the boat’s reaction to the catch; then on to the drive and the finish.

Second, it is important for rowers to relax and have confidence in what they are doing. Self-doubt and fear of failure are often the biggest distractions and can lead to the biggest mistakes. If a mistake is made on one stroke, fogey about it and refocus on the next stroke.

Third, it is important for rowers to support each other. Feeling like “everyone is looking at me” in the boat can be very distracting. Leave the coaching to the coaches and coxswain, focus on what you are doing on each and every stroke, and work on team building out of the boat.