domingo, 15 de março de 2009

Entrevista - Agência Lusa

Rowing Technique

By Rob de Rooij (summary based on Korzeniowsky/Spracklen)


An athlete’s technical ability, fitness, and state of mind determine the level of his or her performance. Although the role of technique is common to every sport, rowing requires considerable technical proficiency for high levels of performance. It does not help to develop strength, endurance, and other physiological capabilities if a rower does not have the skill to use them to increase the speed of the boat. Very often, smaller less powerful lightweight crews are successful against stronger heavyweights, particularly in smaller boats, due to higher skill levels.

We mostly concentrate on the fundamentals of rowing technique. We have the opinion that by adhering to the fundamentals, it is possible to coach both novices and advanced crews in the most efficient manner. Our technique is no ‘abacadabra’, it is as simple as possible. Talking with many experienced, successful coaches taught us that they have simplified their teaching techniques over the years.

As the coach (and also as a rower) you should have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of rowing technique. Every coach must posses a very strong image (a mental model) of the rowing stroke and should be able to transfer this image to rowers in a simple, easy-to-understand language.


The basic rowing technique we use is a logical, natural movement.
There is no room for dramatic, abrupt motions that would counter or slow the speed of the boat. Body actions, blade motions, and seat movements must all be in harmony with the speed of the boat.
At the beginning of the rowing stroke, the rower locks the blade in the water, already with pressure on the foot stretcher. This is important because the only physical stable connection of athlete and boat is the foot stretcher. Loose pressure there is losing contact with the shell.

When the blade receives pressure he will start pushing the legs against the foot stretchers. This causes the body weight to shift from the seat to the oar handle(s) (suspension, hanging). The upper body and arms just hold firmly but relaxed the oar(s), while the legs drive down. Towards the end of the leg drive, the back swings open, followed by a quick bend of the arms. The length of the swing is determined by how long you can keep the pressure on the blade.

This way, the legs, back, and arms work in a logical and natural
sequence, overlapping each other and creating steady pressure on the blade through the stroke.

If rowers understand the concept of “hanging”, it will usually not be necessary to teach them when to “open” the back or when to bend the arms. Hanging on the oar will dictate the natural sequence of the rowing motion. If the understand the concept of “pressure”, it will not be necessary to teach them how long the drive has to be towards the finish.

Another principle of this style is that all motions are related and are in harmony with the speed of the boat. This way, whatever the cadence, the whole rowing cycle looks easy, fluid and effortless. The fluidity of the stroke will make incorrect motions (abrupt accelerations, body jerks) more apparent.


Mike Spracklen stated once these 3 factors. It is common knowledge in the world or rowing-coaches, but here I would like to repeat it. The 3 factors that determine the speed of the boat, they are: POWER LENGTH RATE.

If a crew rowed at maximum capacity in all three of these components at the same time, it is doubtful they could row 10 strokes before technique withered and boat speed faded. The number of strokes required to complete 2000 meters is from 200 to 250 and clearly, equilibrium of power, length and rate must be achieved. Rowing is basically a power endurance sport, but, as mentioned before, it requires a high level of skill. Choosing the "right" technique and then teaching it is a coaching skill and there are many differing opinions about which method is the best. Whatever the method preferred, power, length and rate are the basic ingredients.

Rate is the easiest to achieve. Keeping it at its optimum in a race is not the main problem. Length and power are the first to deteriorate when the pressure of the race reaches its peak.

The most efficient part of the stroke is when the blade is passing at 90 degrees to the boat. Only when it is at this angle is its force propelling the boat wholly in the correct direction. In theory an efficient length of the stroke is from 45 degrees at the catch to 135 degrees at the finish. In practice the body prevents the oar from reaching more than 125 degrees. To achieve 45 degrees at the catch, the reach must extend beyond this angle. A longer finish can be drawn in a sculling boat but it is inefficient to draw more than 130 degrees.
It is important to have the total length being determined by the athlete’s individual capacity (limiting factor is usual flexibility) and not to force an athlete in a model. Forcing an athlete into a model is a guarantee for injuries and discomfort.

Maximal power is achieved by appropriate sequencing of then contributing muscles from strongest to weakest_LEGS FIRST......The quadriceps and gluteus; Then the BACK..... The lower back; Then the SHOULDERS and ARMS... The latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, and biceps.


Blade work is a skill, which has direct impact on the movement and speed of the boat. For this reason we pay much more attention to correct blade work then to the body motion. Yet, the blade work is a direct reflection of what is happening inside the boat. It is possible to change either body motion or blade work and see improvements in the other element.


Rowing styles differ in where emphasis is placed. The emphasis, for example, may be the catch, the finish, or the rhythm. Body positions and movements will be influenced by this emphasis. The method we prefer is based on rhythm. The stroke is divided into two phases: 1) The STROKE or power phase, and 2) The RECOVERY or resting phase. The athletes are trained to apply full power to each stroke and to rest and prepare the new stroke during the recovery, which will help them apply power to 200+ strokes or the number required to complete the race.


The ability to apply power is an essential physical requirement.
Physical capacity is acquired by training, but the coordination of muscular contraction in the rowing stroke is the essence of good technique.
It requires a lot of quality km´s in order the technique to become ‘automatic’. It is essential to become automatic, because during great stress and fatigue (like in a race) the body always will tend to go on “auto-pilot”. For that this “auto-pilot” has to be well trained to re-produce a natural style.

Rob De Rooij

domingo, 1 de março de 2009

SIM à Revolução

Terminou o período de votação acerca do estado do Remo nacional. A opção dos visitantes foi um clara e esmagadora, com mais de 97% a defenderam uma mudança de rumo do remo nacional. Apenas 2% dos visitantes não concordam com uma revolução, aparentemente satisfeitos com o panorama do remo no nosso país.
Não chega dizer que Sim ou que Não! É necessário "apontar o dedo" e apresentar as mudanças a fazer, expor os beneficios das mesmas para que quem lidera e toma as decisoes possa mudar os aspectos negativos e levar o Remo a bom porto...

Fica o apelo a todos os visitantes deste blog que nos deixem a seu comentário sobre o que esta mal e apresentem soluções que tornem o nosso Remo numa modalidade de topo a nivel nacional e internacional.