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Ratio, By the Numbers

BY MARLENE ROYLE
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER

Your blades are out of water for more than half of the stroke cycle at rates below a 40, which makes ratio naturally an important area to focus on. In her article, “Coaching a Long Stroke in Rowing,” Rebecca Caroe advises coaches explain this concept in detail to novices. One way to do this is by emphasizing the duration of each stroke phase. At a stroke rate of 20 each cycle takes three seconds to complete; at a 30 it takes two seconds. The drive phase for both ratings is about 0.7 seconds, leaving different time frames for the recovery—2.3 seconds at 20 strokes per minute and 1.3 seconds at a 30. Have your crew row at half pressure and vary the stroke rates to realize the difference between the power phase and the recovery. Next teach them how to reach full compression, checking feet angles to make sure they can achieve it. Reinforce this further with the classic “building drill” for team boats, where rowers are added one pair or one sculler at a time and at full pressure until all four or eight are rowing. The goal is to maintain the same load and length as the hull speed increases.

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