Drills to get the blades off the water

How to Get Your Blades Off the Water – Faster Masters Rowing Radio – the podcast for masters rowers.
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03:00 This past week. As coaches we develop too – we change our understanding over time.

09:50 How to get your blades off the water.

Most rowers who keep their oars on the water during the recovery do it because the boat is not set and balanced.

What causes imbalance?

There’s a long list of possible reasons including:

  • handle heights
  • sitting unevenly on the seat
  • unequal pressures on each oar
  • dropping your elbows
  • blade extraction timing
  • holding the blade in the water too long on one side

13:00 What blade skills do you need to have to get your blades off the water?

You must be committed and intentional to get your oar blades off the water. It doesn’t just “happen”.

Trying to get your oars off the water after the finish won’t work. You can ONLY to do it as you take the oars out of the water.

Get your blades off the water technique

The way to do it is this: On the drive phase, as your hands come close to your body – you tap down on the handle and get the oar blade spoon out of the water. The depth of downward pressure on the handle determines the blade spoon height above the water’s surface.

Press lower to get greater height above the water.

Press less to let your oar be closer to the water on the recovery. Mostly, if your oars touch the water on the recovery it slows down the boat and the reason you are touching the water is that you have not pressed downwards sufficiently at the extraction point.

Feathering checks

  1. Feathering on the drive. If the water sucks your blade down into the water this is what you are doing. Also check if your wrist is cocked (bent) as you take the oar out of the water. If it is, likely you are feathering on the drive or failing to press down on the handle at the end of the drive to extract the oar blade from the water
  2. Feathering on the recovery. This is what you should be doing. If your wrist is straight in line with your knuckles and forearm; if you are putting pressure on the top of the handle to extract the oar blade and if you are doing BOTH these things then you will tap out the blade and feather while the oar is on the recovery

19:00 Get the set / balance on the follow through after taking the oars out of the water.

By the time the oars are perpendicular, your boat should be set level.

Rowing stroke feathering

How to feather the oar at the finish to get your oars off the water on the recovery.

21.00 Drills to teach you how to get your blades off the water

Teach how to feather first
Teach how to feel the weight of the oar in your hand
Tapping drills and progressions to different body positions
Delayed feather drill
Set a high standard for drills
27:00 Do these drills slowly – this is key. Many athletes feather too quickly and lose connection to the boat.
31:00 Consistency – in a crew build up to more people rowing as you practice getting your blades off the water.
Look at your blades to see what they are doing compared to what you THINK you are doing.
35:00 Practice concentration.
38:00 An easy reference point – if your wrist bends you are too late tapping down. Pressure in the water helps the blade to come out of the water.
40:00 When you perfect the release, the boat speed goes up.