Front-end drills to get connected

I’ve had a mini breakthrough. I’m finally starting to get more connected to the water at the catch.

I say ‘finally’ because it has proven excruciatingly elusive over the 4 years I have now been sculling.

I say ‘starting’ because I have a lot of mileage to do now to cement it in to my muscles, especially my brain.

It came together during a session in the quad, when Karen, behind me in 3 seat, persisted in telling me to take all pressure off the handles at the catch, and almost throw my  hands up in the air.

The concentration required for me to do this felt intense. Not 110% – more like 190%. But it happened, and I quite suddenly seemed to be able to do it fairly consistently.

In the lead up to this day, I had been working on front-end drills, such as the reverse pick drill, partly because I had watched videos and saw it as a challenge in the single. So perhaps this helped me too.

Here are some of those videos.

Tapping down at the front end is demonstrated here by the GB boys, Purchase and Hunter – I like how the elbows are quite loose:

I’ve watched this clip many times. I think it’s 4-time world champion Elio Luini, showing how it’s done in a single:

This next one starts with a good close-up of the loose grip required.

And don’t miss the pair at 3’08” rowing square with one arm. Wow.

Back to the GB boys for a legs-only demo:

And here’s an MIT men’s 8 progressing through the reverse pick drill:

The first couple of strokes I ‘got’ felt odd because my blades were not entirely square, and when I dropped them in the water the force of the water was enough to square them up in the gate.

It was disconcerting feeling the handles self-adjust in my fingers and for a moment I felt a loss of control (eek).

But the oars knew what to do. Sometimes we just have to trust the technology.

Getting connected feels so good that it is its own incentive. And I’m sure I saw a tiny backsplash – woohoo (or was it a forward splash?). 

Now I just need to make it a habit.

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