Red King

Harry Mahon's Rowing Technique

Rowing / Sculling is a combination of Power Phase and a Recovery Phase. It is necessary to combine the two successfully. Relaxation is the key to effective technique. Rowing / Sculling is a continuous movement, each stroke starting as the blade returns to the water from the previous one. There is a definite rhythm / ratio between the two phases.

Power Phase

  1. The CATCH. The back is connected by providing pressure between the legs and the water. The back is held firm and the shoulders and arms are kept relaxed. This enables the lower back and lateral muscles (latissimus dorsi) to hold the pressure for the legs and the water. The rower is then suspended (hanging) between the oar handle and the water with tension in the leg muscles. The water pressure is felt in the backs of the fingers.
  2. The LEG DRIVE commences and accelerates while the rower continues to hang from the oar with the pressure still firmly in the back and lateral muscles. The back is accelerated to about 15 degrees past the vertical, maintaining constant pressure.
  3. The ARM DRAW commences during maximum leg acceleration, pulling the handle with the elbows / triceps maintaining pressure in the fingers, until the oar needs to be extracted close to the body.

Recovery Phase

  1. At the FINISH of the stroke, the spoon must be released cleanly from the water with downward pressure from the hands. The handle is turned (feathered) with a relaxed movement of the inside hand, keeping the wrist relatively flat. It is then moved freely away from the body.
  2. PREPARE the body position for each stroke by sitting at backstops until the arms have moved the handle on past the knees. The desired body position is achieved by stretching the shoulders and lateral muscles forward while keeping the seat stationary. The handle is held lightly and the shoulders are kept relaxed. The body weight is drawn from the seat to the feet. When rowing sweep it is necessary to bring more weight onto the inside leg as the boat moves onwards. This enables the rower to achieve good length easily.
  3. Control the SLIDE to the boat speed feeling the balance with pressure on the feet, with the arms moving the handle onward to the “catch”. The oar is squared before reaching the catch, and placed in the water. The pressure on the feet is transferred back to the oar handle by connecting the legs and back to the spoon.