Putting it Together

Putting it together means that you execute each movement of the stroke properly and follow a specific order of movements. This will result in the body and hands being in the right place and the right time, proper posture will be maintained and extra movements are avoided. Following a specific style of stroke and a specific sequence of movements will help a crew simplify and practice the stroke as each rower is doing the exact same thing in the same order.

Rowers can use the pick drill and the reverse pick drill to perfect specific aspects of the stroke and to work on putting it all together with coordination and timing. The erg is great for working on the proper sequencing in the off season.

The pick drill and the reverse pick drill can be part of an erg or on water warmup. Practice the drills on the erg first and do not rush. Be careful not to simply go through the motions. Keep good form, rhythm, and ratio.

Pick drill

Purpose: to isolate aspects of the stroke and to help prepare the upper body for the drive and finish. Transition through each part of the recovery, building each part onto the next.

  1. Start in the finish position with the blades squared and buried
  2. The coxswain will call “arms only, ready, row;” row for 10 to 15 strokes with the arms only. With two strokes remaining,
  3. The coxswain will call, “add the body in two, one, two, on this one;” row for 10 to 15 strokes with the arms and body only. With two strokes remaining,
  4. The coxswain will call “half slide in two, one, two, on this one;” row for 10 to 15 strokes at half slide. With two strokes remaining,
  5. The coxswain will call “full slide in two, one, two, on this one;” row for 10 to 15 strokes at full slide.

Example of the pick drill used as a warmup for an erg workout

Reverse pick drill

Purpose: to isolate aspects of the drive and to practice the drive sequence and coordination of movements.

NOTE: It is not necessary to push overly hard, especially at first. The main goal is to practice using the legs before opening the back at the hips. On the water, try this drill in pairs, then in fours, and then with all six.
  1. Start in the catch position with the blades squared and fully buried
  2. The coxswain will call “legs only, ready, row;” row for 10 to 15 strokes with the legs only (you may start by pushing for 3-4 inches at first, progressing to a full slide push) – no back swing, no arm draw/pull – upper body remains forward and arms are extended
  3. Call, “add the back swing in two, one two, on this one;”row for 10 to 15 strokes with legs and back only.  With two strokes remaining,
  4. Call “add the arms in two, one, two, on this one;” row full strokes with legs, back, and arms.

Example of the reverse pick drill on the water

NOTE: the rowing may not look perfect when you are doing a drill such as this one. That is fine as long as you are working hard to execute well and perfect your technique.

See also, technique drills.

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