Question of the Day

So basically my erg scores are pretty dang good. But my technique on the water … is interesting to say the least. I really want to improve it and have been trying hard to do so, but with little success. Do you have any advice about on the water sweep technique? Thanks so much!

The best suggestion I can offer is to have your coach take some video and go over it with you before/after practice so you can see what improvements are needed. This will help give you specific things to focus on (i.e. getting your shoulders set by half slide) rather than just hearing “stop lunging at the catch”. You can also use whatever you learn from watching that video to do some research on YouTube, Reddit, etc. to see what others have done to work on the same or similar issues.

Related: Good and bad technique on the erg

Also ask lots of questions – what are you doing wrong, what can you do better, how do you fix it, what needs to change, etc. Communication is key and the better you understand what you’re doing and what you need to fix, the easier it will be to actually make the necessary changes. Talk to your coxswains too and let them know what you’re working on so they can make the right calls to help you stay focused on making and incorporating those changes.

Related: You’ve posted before on calling rowers out in practice for what they’re doing wrong (e.g. “Three, you’re late”). Does the same count for technique? For example, my bow seat always opens with his back. Is it appropriate for me, when talking technique, to say something like, “Keep your knees over your ankles so you don’t over-compress and open with your back – that means you, bow seat,” even if I can’t see it actually happening, or does that sound antagonistic?

The last thing is to be diligent about your practice. Don’t just do something right for three strokes and then revert back to old habits. You just put all that effort into making the change so why waste it but going back to how you were rowing before? For awhile, the amount of time and effort that it’s going to take to make the change stick will be way more that what it took to learn it that specific skill in the first place, so that’s something you have to accept. Make an effort every day to do it the right way.

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