> Hi Carl, thanks for the detailed reply! I am glad to say I can follow almost all of your explanation so many thanks for providing it, however I am still stuck on the same issue I see which is the point below relating to the blade feeling "heavier"
>> 3. It feels "heavier" - the obvious consequence of reduced slip causing
>> it to take longer to complete the stroke, & your impatience encouraging
>> you to pull harder, thus _making_ it harder, instead of pulling normally
>> & allowing the stroke to finish naturally in a slightly longer time
> Now I do understand this point, so if you row deeper "correctly" then you finish in a longer time and equally if you have a more eddicient blade then you also finish in a longer time than you would with a less efficient blade, but how does that then relate to the boat speed? Most importantly what is the outcome of the rowers ability to accelerate the boat thought the stroke?
> In my mind (and this is where I struggle) with this added efficiency you will end up rating lower, so a potential for less acceleration through the stroke and some of the information from biorow suggests that good acceleration is key (which makes sense, more acceleration = higher velocity)
Let's dissect this a bit?
What matters most is that the work you do is not wasted.
We have come to regard rating as equalling speed, but that is a serious
over-simplification. And we have come to see rating as related to how
quickly we can "get the blade through", which is also a fallacy.
If a power stroke is a bit more efficient is it likely to take slightly
longer to complete, for the same arc. That's inevitable. But let's
kill the fallacy about rating. Rating is determined not by how quickly
you get from catch to finish but by how quickly & _smoothly_ your
recovery takes you from finish to catch.
If you try to get a quicker power phase to the stroke you will either
finish short or row shallow. Well, we've all done that to keep up with
the other guys in the crew after a hard outing - guilty as charged!
Unfortunately so many coaches are shouting at their crews to get the
rate up in the water, & that simply can't be done. If you pull 10%
harder without affecting the efficiency or length of the stroke you
won't go even 3% faster. If your power phase takes 0.8 sec before you
increased the loading, now it will take 0.77 sec. So you've shaved all
of 0.03 sec off the stroke time. If you were rating say 30spm, that
means every stroke that was taking 2 sec will now take 1.97 sec. And,
if you do nothing else, that will only raise your rate from 30 to 30.46 spm.
What often happens is that rowers shorten up when told to "raise the
rate in the water". What should happen is that you accept the stroke
will take the same time and work to make a smoother, swifter recovery.
I hope you get my point?
How do we make the faster recovery needed to raise the rate? Well, it
ain't done by sudden gestures, so forget about throwing the hands away
faster. Ideally we need to keep the same controlled action as at lower
rates, free from all sudden changes of speed (which simply bucket the
boat & waste energy), & simply make a small speed increase in every part
of that action. In reality, all many crews need to do is to cut out
their tendency to hang about before the catch. Why get forward & then
stop? It only checks the boat. You've come forward to take the catch
so get on with it - take the catch on the fly, not from stasis & the
boat will check less, your catch will be slicker, sooner & harder.
Most crews can easily save 1/10sec in this way and many can save a lot
more. So just by not waiting for the catch a rate of 30 spm can rise
effortlessly to 31.6 spm & many could do better. But your recovery is
still the longest part of the stroke during which you do the least
actual work. It's not there so you can 'recover' your energy &
composure. It's there only because the funny cyclic nature of the
rowing action demands we waste our time moving back to the catch for
another bite of the cherry. So if you have 1.2 sec to make the recovery
& can reduce that time to 1 sec - which isn't very hard to do provided
you don't rush at it, just move more slickly - then your rate will rise
effortlessly from 30 to 33.3 spm. My word, how did that come about?
Next, this stuff about 'accelerating the boat'. Sorry to be boring but
the object of rowing is _not_ to accelerate the boat. That's just
another of those lovely motivating-but-meaningless coaching mantras. We
wouldn't want it accelerating away from us, would we, even if that were
Inevitably the boat surges & checks under us, but that's because it's
very much the junior partner in the exercise. The biggest lump by far
is AKA 'the crew'. So the boat is like a somewhat weighty pair of
skates. I doubt the skater wants to accelerate his or her skates. They
just to complete the course in the least possible time without parting
from those skates. It's the same in rowing. The boat is attached to
our feet & goes wherever we go, but because we keep lengthening &
shortening the gap between our thorax & the stretcher, the boat speed is
constantly varying while our own CofG travels at a pretty constant speed.
What we do in rowing is try to deliver as much useful power as we
possible in the least disruptive way - not increasing the surge & check
on the boat, not bouncing it, & definitely not accelerating it. In
fact, during the first part of the power stroke every shell actually
decelerates. Then in the last part of the stroke it speeds up until it
reaches the speed of the crew. And during recovery, if we're skilled
enough, we decelerate our own passage over the water (_not_ up the
slide) by moving astern WRT the boat through pulling on the stretcher &,
thereby, sustaining the boat's run through the water despite the fluid
drag which is trying to slow it down.
That's a whole bundle of worry - sorry about that, but it probably needs
saying in view of the wall of technical disinformation which normally
surrounds every rowing outing. Rowing is a simple thing too often made
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
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