Rushing in the rowing stroke

We continue our mini-series on speed murdering mistakes in rowing and sculling. This follows last week’s deep dive into blades on the surface …. this week we take a look at Rushing Off The Back. What, how, causes, cures.

Resource: The Finish Posture explained

3 Value Bombs

  1. Get better ratio when you fix a rush at the finish
  2. Your posture at the finish is key to improving – check it with video.
  3. The fastest point of boat speed is after the finish. You can get speed ‘for free’ by timing the body weight transition correctly.


01:00 These issues are straightforward to resolve. As a coach I can see the solution and until you realise the solution is there, you’re ignorant.

01:30 Rushing off the back

The transition from the oar extraction through to when you roll up the slide is our focus area.

  1. When people rush it looks like a hustle, a race to get the oars out of the water and push the handle away. – The stroke lacks ratio (the contrast between power and recovery phases).
  2. You lose time for a rest.
  3. The boat doesn’t run on if you rush. This is speed for free. By cutting the finish short the boat won’t run on.
  4. Problems preparing for the catch. Your preparation is left later in the recovery when the boat is more tippy.
  5. Compromises the ability to get weight on your feet.

05:00 Cures for rushing

  • Finish the rowing stroke power phase in the correct finish position. Pressure on your feet; elbow position at the correct height and alignment to the oar shaft; thumbs on lower ribs; shoulders behind your hips leaning into bow.
  • The correct finish position sets you up to move onto the recovery correctly without rushing.
  • Separate the arm movement from the body movement after taking the oar out of the water. Get the arms straight first and then rock the body forwards. One follows from the other, not simultaneously.
  • Soften your knees to bend them slightly and your body weight coming forwards starts the slide movement and enables weight to come onto your feet.

08:30 Things to look out for

Look down and see if your elbows are partly bent as you rock the body forwards

Do your thumbs touch your lower ribs?

Are you finishing with handles horizontal or are they drawing down into your lap? Get some video so the finish and your body are in the frame.

09:30 Boat speed through the stroke cycle

The fastest point of boat speed is after the finish. This may sound counter-intuitive – the second surge of speed comes after the oars are extracted and as you transfer your body weight. Rebecca calls this speed for free.

Do 10 strokes normal, 10 strokes separating arms from body to spot the difference.

Watch the full Speed Murdering Mistakes mini-series

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