Ratio & Rhythm

‘Move quickly but don’t rush.’ In other words, practice rowing with ratio and rhythm.

Rowing with good rhythm means rowing smoothly without rushing, hesitating, or jerking. Ratio refers to the amount of time spent on the recovery compared to the amount of time spent on the drive. In general, you are looking to row smoothly with the recovery taking slightly longer than the drive.

An inconsistent pace or rhythm and rushing the last quarter of the slide will send the boat off keel. A good consistent pace and rhythm will allow the rowers to anticipate what the stroke is doing and match up the body movements. When the rowers establish good rhythm and ratio the rowing will feel mush easier, even though they may be working as hard or harder.

If the coxswain calls ‘more ratio’ he or she is looking for you to work harder on the drive and to take more time on the recovery. The stroke rate should not change.

A crew with good rhythm and ratio and will be more graceful, the stroke will be longer, the rowers will be more relaxed, and the boat will have time to ‘run’ without being disrupted. Practicing stroke sequencing , coordination, and timing as a team will help improve rhythm, ratio, and overall boat performance.

BEWARE! A negative ratio, with the recovery taking less time than drive, can lead to poor stroke execution, poor balance, very little run in the boat, and an inability to rest for the next drive. And, its not fun!