On July 18, Coach Bill Tytus taught the third in a five-part series on the finish. The class began with a question, “How quickly can you stop your boat in an emergency?”
Bill posited, “The ability to stop your boat very quickly, without loss of control should be a primary member of your rowing skill-set; but you might be surprised that such a skill can be very helpful in practicing a good finish.”
Bill first held a review of last week’s Push/Pull Drill where you simply hold the blades square in the water and push and pull the handles back and forth (one hand at a time, at least at first), noticing how hard it is to keep the blades square as handles are pushed away with even medium force. Rowers also practiced the Dave Drill, drawing the handles into the finish with increasing pressure. After the review, we moved onto the new lesson which began with the Emergency Stop.
The Emergency Stop Drill: From blades feathered and on the water, roll your wrists upward, backing the blades into the water. You control your deceleration by how fast and far you lift your wrists, and by how hard you pull up against the water.
Bill stated, “The advantage of this method is that even in nervous-making situations, the blades will not suddenly grab or dive and the upward pressure on them will keep the boat very stable. If this is new to you, try it, and get good at it.”
Bill then asked a second question, “How can this help the finish?”
To find out, Bill had us practice a new drill: Dave Drill + Brakes!
The Dave Drill + Brakes: Start with a Dave Drill followed by an Emergency Stop, then combine the two - no feather in between. Then, gradually, begin to relax the wrists, lessening the amount of stop, until you're not stopping at all. Notice that neither are you feathering - as you stop stopping, the blades roll onto the water all by themselves. The goal is to learn to effect the finish by pulling hard all the way in, then doing nothing more than stop pulling and relax the wrists.
Throughout the class Bill encouraged rowers to be your own teacher and observe what your boat, your oars, your hands, and your body are doing and correct the parts that make your boat go slower.
To help with this endeavor, before class day, Bill distributed reading materials and videos via email on what he believes is current “good rowing” thought.
Finish and Release by John Dunn “John is a pretty good guy, and certainly espouses modern rowing technique.”
From Dr. Valery Kleshnev here is some Advice and Inspiration
Bill Tytus, owner of Pocock Racing Shells and champion singles sculler, is coaching an advanced class exploring the technical aspects of how to make your boat go faster. The class meets Saturdays from 6:30 to 8:30. Visit the LWRC Programs Page to sign-up.
LWRC Sculling programs are open to all LWRC members rowing in single sculls. We have programs available for a range of levels. Visit the LWRC Programs Page for details. LWRC has annual memberships available. Become a Member