I’m a collegiate rower. I have excellent technique except for one thing – I don’t catch quickly enough. I am in time with the rest of the boat, but it’s the issue of going straight to the water and burying my blade completely before driving with my legs. Most of our boat has this issue. I’ve tried asking coaches how to remedy my issue, but they haven’t given me anything very effective yet. Do you have any advice? Please and thank you! I appreciate it.
The first thing that comes to mind is something as simple as just unweighting the handle. (This may be something your coaches have talked about in the past.) One of the biggest reasons why people are late at the catch isn’t because they’re doing anything wrong on the slide, it’s because they’re lifting the blade in rather than taking the weight off the handle and letting gravity do the work. Gravity will put the blade in at the speed it needs to go in at … anything we do to try make it go in faster is doing just the opposite.
You can’t have a good catch without having good body prep on the recovery, so make sure you’re really focusing on finishing clean, relaxing the upper body, getting the hands away at boat speed, bringing the body over smoothly, and coming up the slide controlled and determined. When you get to the catch don’t think about it – just do it. The more you think the more it messes with your head and the more likely you are to make a silly mistake. Ask your coach(es) and/or coxswains to pay particular attention to your catch timing one day at practice and then ask them for feedback afterwards. Make mental notes of what you did differently compared to before, why you made those changes, and how you think they helped you so you can go over all of that with your coach.