How to feather correctly

Feathering is a key bladework skill for rowing and sculling. Marlene and Rebecca recorded this podcast in which they demonstrate feathering and explain
– How to Feather Correctly for sweep and sculling
– Drills to stop dropping the wrist while feathering

Timestamps to the show

Remember that the Faster Five explains all the detail we discuss today and more. The Bladework ebook is what you will need.

04:00 Virtual Races are happening. A round-up.
09:00 Live Races happening at Secret City, TN, Head of the Hog, FL, Head of the Schuylkill / Hooch and Fish all offering erg or water participation. And US Rowing website has a virtual challenge.
14:00 How to deal with friction on oars in the oarlocks.

It was recently pointed out that I was dropping my wrists while feathering. This morning I noticed that there seems to be some friction and resistance with my C2 sculls in my C2 oarlocks, making it a little hard to feather with just my fingers. The collars are worn and a bit rough and I plan to reverse them to get a smooth surface for feathering. Any other suggestions to make it easier to feather with just fingers?

If you have worn collars they should be replaced annually. You can also spread the oarlock by moving the lock nut on the oarlock swing arm to give you more room to turn the oar.

18:30 Correct Feathering Sculling

How to feather with your fingers.

rowing gate spreader nut, oarlock, feathering rowing

Rowing gate spreader nut

Release timing is key – getting the timing correct will ensure your wrist is flat. If you feather out the blade at the finish this makes your wrist bend.
You MUST do drills to change this pattern of rowing.

Drills to help you feather in sculling with your fingers.

For all of these Watch your oar as you row. And SLOW DOWN the stroke rate so you can get it right.

  • Delayed feather drill – extract the oar, get arms straight and body swung forwards before you feather.
  • Row circles with one oar – watch the oar spoon, then watch the handle where your hand is turning, then try eyes shut
  • Weight in the hand consciousness – can be aided by strapping a strip of lead around the neck of the blade where it joins the shaft. Or putting thumb on top of the oar handle so you have to push down with your hand to extract the blade from the water

Grip is not in your lower palm on the recovery. Check your blisters and callouses aren’t here!

24:00 Correct Feathering Sweep

The weight of the oar is in your outside hand and the inside hand feathers. It is OK to bend your wrist in sweep for feathering.

Drills to help you feather in sweep

  • Thumb barely touching the handle (Steve Gladstone)
  • Light grip with inside hand – or thumb of outside hand on top of the handle
  • Switch hands – outside and inside during the drive and recovery to isolate your hand movements
  • Open fingers / open palm drill on the recovery. This works for sweep and sculling
  • The Snake Drill – rowing an S shape in the water with alternate sides. Watch your oar as you row.
  • Wide Grip – what is this used for? In Sculling and in sweep this drill helps you to open up your chest and feel the separation of the hands. It loads up the gearing in sculling to help you slow down the movement. In sweep it helps to isolate your hands so you can focus on the movement each is making.

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