The other day our coach had all of us move our foot stretchers all the way forward on the tracks. I was wondering what the benefit of doing this is?
Trying not to overthink this too much but my guess is that your coach is just trying to have everyone get a sharper catch angle since adjusting the stretchers has a much greater effect on the catch than it does the finish. The closer to the stern your feet are the closer to parallel the oar will be at the catch and the more shallow of a release angle you’ll have (it’ll be nearly perfectly perpendicular to the boat compared to being at a 20 degree angle or so otherwise).
Just going off what I’ve picked up from coaches and boatmen in the past, I think he’s probably just trying to avoid rigging seats individually (be that out of laziness or because of some other reason, I don’t know). If a longer catch angle is what he’s going for though, I’m not sure if this is necessarily the best way to approach it, although I guess if you’re all novices (and/or short…) then it could be a temporary thing as you work on developing better flexibility and mobility throughout the fall/winter. Still, if he’s trying to go for uniformity with one aspect of the stroke the catch isn’t what he should be going for, it should be the finish since you don’t have to contend as much with individual flexibility issues, amongst other things.