Monday, October 15, 2007

Careful with Drills

Just some observations from my coaching yesterday:
1. Drills are designed to help athletes grasp the concepts that the coach wants them to apply to their normal rowing. The actual motor pattern in the brain is quite different. The athlete must conciously try to integrate the drill into their normal rowing in order to create a better, more correct, motor pattern. This will then become automatic over thousands of better strokes.
2. The drill on its own will not automatically create better technique.
3. Overdoing the drill can actually cause more problems in the normal rowing technique if the athlete makes changes to try to "row the drill" all the time.

I recommend the following:
1. Do the drill for 10-15 strokes maximum and then return to normal rowing and try to integrate the elements learned during the drill into normal rowing.
2. Repeat the drill in sets so: 10-15 strokes drill - 10-15 normal - 10-15 drill - 10-15 normal etc.
3. Row 1 stroke drill, 1 stroke normal or 2 drill, 2 normal.
4. Return to normal rowing but thinking about the emphasise of the drill in normal rowing

E.g. Rowing Square Blades
To emphasise holding the spoon buried to the extraction, emphasizing the hand movement down and away to ensure clean extraction
How To Do It:
1. With a stable boat (1 pair balancing in a four) row with the spoons square the whole way through the stroke for 10-15 strokes
2. Then row normal for 10-15 strokes. Remind the rower to move the hands down (and have a clean extraction) by pushing the fingers of the outside hand down.
3. Repeat twice
4. Then row 1 squared - 1 feathered for 20 strokes
5. Increase the complexity by rowing all four so the boat is now more unstable. Repeat the sequence all four.

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