I’ve had a ton of requests to post practice recordings that show drill work so that’s what most of this month’s recordings are. There’s a lot less coxing going on because the emphasis is on executing the drill but there’s still a lot to be taken away from these.
University of Pennsylvania 10 at 40spm
I came across a couple of these UPenn practice pieces awhile ago and debated whether to post them or not but came to the conclusion that even super basic stuff can still be useful to people. In this video I like when he says “and hold” when they hit the rate they want. I haven’t heard a coxswain say that before but I like it as an alternative to “on rate”. I also like how on the first stroke he tells them to “get after it” to try and hit 40spm instead of saying something not helpful/encouraging, which more often than not tends to be the case.
University of Pennsylvania Drills
I wanted to share this one not so much for the coxing but to point out two quick things with the bladework that you guys could/should be looking for, regardless of whether you’re rowing continuously or doing some kind of drills.
- If you watch 7-seat’s oar (the shaft of the oar, not the blade itself) then you can see how on the recovery it remains relatively horizontal once he taps down and comes out over his legs. This means that he’s holding his hands level throughout the recovery and keeping enough weight on the end of the handle with his outside hand to prevent the weight of the blade itself from counteracting that balance (insert lots of science-y stuff about fulcrums, loads, etc.). Comparatively, you can see 5-seat’s handle do a little wave-like movement as he moves through the recovery. Sometimes it’s more noticeable than others but from this point-of-view (the coxswain’s), it’s definitely something you can see and fix. What this is an indication of is that he’s not holding his hands in a level plane as he moves through the recovery. Instead it looks like he taps down a little too much at the finish (which pushes the blade up), lifts his hands slightly over his knees (an indication that his sequencing is a little off), and then pushes his hands down again as he comes up to the catch. In the grand scheme of things this is a relatively minor issue but if you see it happening it’s always best to say something.
- When the camera switches to show the port side the most obvious thing is 4 and 6-seat aren’t squaring up at the same time. It’s tough to tell who’s off here since we can’t see stroke’s blade (I’m inclined to think it’s 4-seat) but regardless, you (and they) should know the kind of roll-up you do (slow, quick, etc.) and how square the blade should be by the time you get to half-slide (halfway, fully, etc.). If you don’t know then that’s something you should find out from your coach so that you can get everyone on the same page. One of the spots where this is most obvious is around 3:09 when they pause and 2-seat and 6-seat are about half-squared and 4-seat is still totally feathered. The whole point of doing pause drills is to get everyone synced up at wherever in the stroke you’re pausing and that refers to not just to the slide but to the bladework as well. The devil is in the details…
University of Pennsylvania Drills #2
This last UPenn one is more for the younger, less-experienced coxswains as example of how to call a pause drill, the length that each pause should be, and how to transition out of it and back into continuous rowing since “how to cox pause drills” is something I’ve gotten a lot of emails about in the past.
This is a long video – almost 15 minutes – but if you’re looking to improve your technique-spotting skills then I’d definitely spend some time watching this one, listening to what the coach and coxswain are saying, and matching that up with what you’re seeing with the blades.
Regarding the actual drills, coxing pause drills isn’t that tough (as you can tell, it’s mostly just you saying “go” a lot) but similar to what I said on the last recording, I tend to get a lot of questions about how to transition between pairs while you’re pausing and the beginning here is a good example of how to do that.
Another reason why I like having my recorder on me as much as possible is so I can go back later and listen to everything the coach is saying and actually absorb the things he’s pointing out so I can incorporate it into my own calls later on. Examples from this recording include:
- Change direction at the front end without the bodies collapsing down
- Take your time from the finish through the pivot
- Establish your length through the pause
All basic, all things we already know but as I’ve said before, it’s good to take the things your coach is saying and include them verbatim (or close to it) within your own calls to reiterate what they’re trying to teach and to show that you’re actually engaged with what’s going on and not just zoning out when you’re not the one making the calls.
Dartmouth drills #2
This would be a great drill for anyone but particularly for novice/less experienced crews since doing starts with them tends to evoke images of an octopus having a seizure.