Mis-timing the catch

Mis-timing the catch causes the boat to slow down. You can go faster for no extra effort.

Resource: What is Work Through the Pin in sculling?

3 Value Bombs

  1. Listen to your seat to find the moment of the catch
  2. Have as few body movements as possible while sliding on the recovery
  3. Be active with your catch placement.


These three things are super-easy to correct and take no extra fitness and effort. So important for masters to enjoy our rowing and so “speed for free” is great for us.

01:45 Putting the oar in the water at the wrong moment.

Roll forward to full compression – there’s a micro second when the seat is stationary. This is the moment when you want the oars already under the water.

  • Too early – means you miss the opportunity to use all your leg drive.
  • Too late – means you aren’t at full slide; you waste leg drive because you’re pushing air not water, and the bows are not at their highest.

03:50 The boat tilts longitudinally during the stroke

At the bows’ high point you are generally at full slide and closest to the stern of the boat. This is when you want to place the oars into the water.

04:50 The cure starts at the finish

Get the set-up correct – refer to our earlier episode about Speed Murdering Mistake #2 The Finish.

  • Be prepared early for the catch.
  • Oars need to be square before you change direction on the slide.
  • Have as few body movements as possible while sliding.
  • Instability compromises catch timing
  • Loose legs on the recovery creates poise and control during the sliding and means you are doing less
  • Sequence off the back (finish) arms – body – legs bend last.

08:30 Ensure you correctly understand the recovery

You should not roll fully forwards before squaring. This movement needs to be earlier in the recovery.

09:15 What to do differently

  1. Look at your knees. They are at their highest at full slide and full compression.
  2. Listen for a moment of silence when the seat wheels stop moving. That’s when the seat changes direction – that gives you an auditory timing point to place your catch
  3. Be active with your placement. Make a definite, active movement to place the oars under the water. Try pushing your handles away from you as a drill to practice this using your thumbs at 90 degrees along the oar handles to emphasise the pushing movement.

Watch the full Speed Murdering Mistakes mini-series