The sport of Rowing

The sport of Rowing is an old and elitist sport, so finding the Windsor Boy’s School Boat Club, which is one if not the only non-private school rowing club in the country. It takes the Years of dedication both the Masters and Rowers/Scullers put into this fantastic sport that really makes it the success it is.

If it weren’t for years of hard work by Chris Morrell to build up the aura which the boat club now maintains, of excellence of the top class, in both rowing and sculling. A tradition I’m sure to be carried on with hopefully the same passion under the new head of the boat club Richard Hamilton.

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Rowing is a very complex sport, with many difficult technical phrases and ideals. It is also demanding of both strong body and mind. Rising with the birds at 6 am to be training for 7 am at school or to spend all weekend every weekend on the water, and no joke that is cold come winter.

The rowing stroke comprises of four main parts, the Slide, the Catch, the Finish and the Leg Drive. These what would seem simple concepts form the art of rowing.

So to start ill paint a picture for you, you have a four-man boat known as a quad. In your quad you have four positions Stroke, this is the man who controls how fast you move back and forth and sits at the very front of the boat with no-one in front of him facing out to the river.

Directly behind him you have 3 (the reason to this will be explained later. 3 man sits directly behind stroke man so he can only see strokes back. His job just like the rest of the crew is to back up stroke man with the rate by getting his movement in time with the man in fronts.

Now next 2 he is pretty much the same as 3 only he will have marginally less effect on the rate and must follow 3 to stay in time with the stroke man.

You then have Bow, the back of the boat is the bow so being at the back you have bow man. His job in the future will be to steer the boat but not yet.

But that’s not all, I lied our four man boat has a fifth man. The cox he is in charge of the boat any thing happens it’s his neck, for this reason the crew must do every little thing the cox instructs. Our cox is the only man or women facing the direction the boat is moving in. He has a little whole hollowed out in the boat called the cox pit where he tucks down to prevent upsetting the balance or creating extra resistance. He even gets a proper steering handle to control the rudder.

Now you may see the logic in the names. The positions are numbered off in order they go through the line bearing in mind in the future the cox goes so I’m sorry cox you don’t count.

Now we under stand to crew we will do the stroke so the whole crew is sitting legs in-front of them holding both blades at even levels in-front of them this should level out at roughly just above belly button height, this is back stops. The stroke is now a case of going up your slide to the catch but in order to make the boat ruin well you must all be in time so you follow the man in front and remember more haste less speed. The technique is everything in rowing. Your blades should stay at a level in which the blade is suspended just above the water. The slide is this forward motion. Once you reach the point where you can no-longer go further forward because of your tied down feet (in a foot stretcher) this is front stops. Now the catch the most technically difficult part of rowing, the blade as you place in the water should be as close to the water as possible with out touching and at exactly the same level as the others in the boat.

Once the blade is in the water the leg drive, this is the easy bit supposedly. You must make sure your whole head of your blade is under water otherwise you will loose power and that will also upset the balance (and Mr. Morrell on the bank.) All you bust do is hold your hands up towards your chest and push down on your legs giving a big drive. Finally the finish now you have just moved the boat over water not the water past the boat, in this action the blade placed in at the catch is the pivot now you must move your pivot on with as little resistance or upset as possible. The finish is pushing your hands down top your thighs and pushing them away again.

That is the basic idea of the art of rowing.

For my exercise plan I intend to combine both Heavy Weight and Endurance Weight Sessions with water cross training in view to increase my over all power and body mass to make my self a more effective sweeps man and asset to my crew. By taking into consideration the principles of training and making good use of the facilities available to me I will construct a regular 6 week training programme in order to obtain my objectives of creating a more dominating force within my crew.

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