We have stated that our primary goal for the camp is for the rowers to go home having felt what the perfect rowing stroke feels like (and in addition have some tips if the baggage on how to achieve this.) For the first outing we wanted some totally flat water for getting used to equipment and to get some film material for our first video session, to see what the starting point is for all rowers. The good thing about Aviz is that favorable conditions are just around the bend, no matter where the wind blows from.
We feel the video sessions are the key for giving the rowers a visual picture of what needs to be corrected. The next challenge is to tell them what they need to do to correct it and at last it is up to the rower to make the changes. Just a small difference in the way of describing what to do can make a huge difference but we feel that video is the best tool to pin point the issue. One aspect we set a lot of focus on is the catch and especially on the relation to the oars catching the water and the seat beginning the drive phase. We actually use software to time this and show it to the rowers. We believe that this timing is one key to an efficient stroke and one we put a lot of emphasis on when teaching technique.
Straight from the video session, we hopped back on the water ready to implement what needed to be corrected. Once again, we emphasized on taking it easy and really thinking on what needs to be done. Implementing technical changes can be a lot more tiring than rowing 16 K’s on the water.
The last session of the day consisted of technical drills. The coaches explained four different drills, which kept the rowers more than challenged for the outing.
The first one was more of an backing exercise pushing the blades to the catch position and then finding a comfortable balance there. The second exercise was called rusties, with an extra straightening the arms between strokes. Third a balance and timing exercise going from back-stops to the catch in good balance. And last but not least a maneuvering exercise which everyone racing needs to master, turning the boat both the clockwise and anticlockwise.
Despite the many threats on how tricky the different drills were, nobody managed to fall in. Our intention was for each rower to dare push their boundaries to the limit and to be encouraged to go beyond their comfort zone.