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Bossey Phelps

 In News

Much in the vein of studying the history of past conflicts to find answers for the present military tactics (this is standard practice at the military academies), we should be studying how they sculled in the past.

This is especially true of the Thames Scullers. I knew about Bossey Phelps, how such a wonderful teacher he was, but never had seen anything written about him.

Thanks to Vince Reynolds for spotting this clip on the the Hear the Boat Sing website. It brings much to light including Bossey’s own extensive small muscle and athletic skills.

It does not look like 1923. Present day scullers look stiffer. His entry is so fluid with no pause above the water, the disappearing blade. His legs at the entry are slightly too wide, but his handling of the shell is magnificent!

I want to point out how common this movement method was from Bossey Phelps, George Pocock, Ernest Barry, Jack Kelly Sr., Bob Pearce, Walter Hoover, and Ned Hanlan. Phelps legs were splayed too much but I attribute it to age and “belly.” But, I love Bossey’s straight, even leg drive, his posture, his level shoulders and those beautiful hands, fingers, and flat wrists. Also the even speed and trunk swing recovery. All of these qualities are characteristics of the other scullers mentioned. Where can you find those qualities today?

Just a few “humble thoughts”,


James C. Joy
Over his long career as athlete, coach, teacher and mentor, Jimmy has touched directly and indirectly thousands in the rowing community. From novices to national, world and Olympic champions, and for coaches at many levels, all have benefited from his holistic and technical approach to a cyclical non-fragmented stroke where there is a strong bond between body, shell and the water creating a state of flow within an integrated whole.
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