The drive is the part of the stroke when the rower users the oar as a lever to move the boat. The legs, body, and arms work together in a specific sequence and coordination of movements to propel the boat forward and keep it steady so that it can travel fast.
Body positions and execution
Below is a picture of a rower as she is executing the initial part of the drive.
To execute a perfect drive:
- A good recovery and catch are key to a good drive.
- It is important that you think of the oar as a lever to move the boat versus thinking about moving water.
- Do not the push with the legs before the blade is in the water.
- Engage your core muscles so that you connect your leg power to the oar handle and can move the boat effectively.
- Control the oar handle so that the hands follow a straight path from the catch position to the body. The blade should move straight through the water (just under the surface).
- Your shoulders should move back, not up.
- Keep the handle moving at the finish of the drive and ensure that you pull it straight back into your body, not down into your lap.
- Ensure that your upper body is steady so that you have a solid platform for the arm draw.
- Starting the drive by lifting the shoulders up and back instead of pushing with the legs.
- Shooting the tail – pushing your bum back without actually moving the handle, the blade, or the boat.
- Swinging the back and pulling with the arms before using the legs. Be sure that you are using the correct drive sequence – legs, body, arms.
- Moving your body forward at the finish of the drive to meet the handle.
Drills to develop a good drive:
- Tempo/ratio rowing – super slow recovery with a quick catch and powerful leg drive
- On the erg – reverse pick drill