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When More is Less

BY RICH DAVIS
PHOTO BY ED MORAN

Novices have so many aspects of their stroke that need improvement coaches are sometimes tempted to try to fix them all at once. But one correction at a time is all most beginners can usually handle because nothing for them is routine.

I personally like to work on one aspect of the stroke for a sustained period of time. Then I focus on that aspect with everyone. What’s good for one rower is most likely good for the whole boat. (And since new rowers mostly fear catching a crab and all that entails, I tend to teach the finish first.) Start by giving your explanation in the boathouse or on the erg.

Be sure your rowers understand what you are saying and why it needs to be done as you describe it. This way, when you offer a correction they will be clear about your reasons for it. Be patient and limit your remarks to as few as possible, and try to keep your athletes rowing without stopping for corrections.

Instead, discuss what you have seen and what they should be doing after practice. Keep the chatter on the water to a minimum. Your rowers need time to think and find the correct motions while on the water—more time rowing leads to faster mastery.

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