The String Effect
Today was a sunny day and I rowed the bay today for the first time in months. There was a great mix of ice and water. Now onto today’s observations from the shell.
First up … I was thinking of the statement to “rowing your oar in” … One thing you might want to contemplate here is as you are feeling the change of direction and rowing the blade in, relax your hands more and more and more and with each progression of relaxation allow your hands to do less and less upon the recovery. Then using your minds eye envision your angle of approach for the blade to the water at entry becoming less and less acute till it is almost flat. Now here are a few physical markers to note that things might be going where you desire …
No. 1: The check in the stern begins to diminish and as such the energy loss in the system diminishes. An excellent practice drill for this is rear quarter deck fixed seat and 1/4 tops with almost zero legs. This we will revisit latter with learning to “salt shaker”. These concepts all will eventually tie together but they are all so intertwined.
One first has to forget where they came from. Change can be difficult, but I now have no muscle memory of square blade rowing. I would probably turn turtle attempting to row like that. So one little visual to take note of if your entry is getting less acute besides the stern is how much water is in the bow canvas at the end of your row and I don’t care what the conditions. As your entry becomes less acute and more “endless chain” there is less and less horizontal check induced from the blade entry and this expresses directly as water on the top (bow) deck. Yesterday there were zero drops. Yes, zero drops over 20,000 meters. Once this concept begins to coalesce then begin raising your stroke rating. It takes meters and conditions but it is a good bellwether and makes a great game for when you return to the dock.
No. 2: As your hands become more relaxed and the angle of blade approach less acute you will actually feel less and less stress upon your torso and this actual feeling of “less stress” can be used as a marker to begin to understand “don’t pull more than you can handle” thing. However the shell will now be approaching a more usual expression of a “string effect” as your velocity becomes more constant.
On a different note. Look at the drift boat start at the “boat race” today. They are going with the current. Wow. Not too many years ago the Doggett and the Wingfield Sculls were rowed against that current. And we even need to wonder where our entanglement lies? It’s a quantum world … that’s for sure.