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The Top 2″ Drill

PHOTO AND STORY BY LIZ HINLEY

The top 2″ drill is an effective lesson used to break down and isolate the very first moments of the rowing stroke in order to perfect them. Take a look at the drill card below to understand how to perform the drill and how it can benefit your rowing stroke.

Drill Name: Top 2”

Purpose: 

  • Sharpens the catch timing 
  • Engages the drive with the legs first 
  • Improves control and comfort level at the catch position

How to Execute: 

  1. Starting from the catch position, blades squared and buried, press into the footboard using the legs just two inches down the slide. This will be about when the heels touch the footboard. The upper body will remain in the forward angled position, shoulders relaxed. 
  2. Let the blades pop out of the water (feathered or squared) feeling the run of the boat. The main goal here is to maintain the catch position in the upper body having minimal movement as the blades exit the water. 
  3. Tug the boat with the heels up underneath you as the bottom edge of your blades connect with the water’s edge. This reflects the last two inches of the recovery phase. 
  4. Complete the drill by dropping the blades fully into the water before pressing into the footboard again for the next stroke. The main goal here is the timing of the blade entry before applying pressure to the footboard. 

With minimal movement, chop the blades into the water from the shoulder before pressing into the footboard. 

Maintain the upper body position as the legs extend just 2”. This will be about where the heels touch down on the footboard. Remember to stay relaxed in the upper body.

Tug the boat up underneath with the heels as the bottom of the blade meets the water’s edge. 

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