Through the drive are you meant to push away with the whole foot? When I drive I tend to just drive with the front part of the foot. I’ve tried using my whole foot but it feels really strange.
When you get to the catch, the only part of the foot that should be on the stretchers are your toes and the top part of the foot. If your whole foot is on the stretcher it means you aren’t fully compressed, which means your stroke is going to be short and not as powerful. If you have really good hamstring flexibility then sometimes you can be fully compressed while still having your feet flat against the stretchers but that’s not a super common thing.
Related: Question about the foot plates on the ergs – what number do you find it’s best to keep them on? Is there a standard it’s “supposed to” be at or is it best for each girl to change them for herself? What do those numbers even mean?
You want to feel your heels come up as you come into the catch so that when you start the drive you can push them down and against the stretcher – hence why rowing is more of a “pushing” sport than a “pulling” one. This is also why coxswains tell you to “stomp”, “feel the connection”, “connect and press with the toes”, etc. The only time you should have your whole foot against the stretcher is when you finish the leg drive (when the slide stops) and start the recovery (before the slide starts).