Day 24: wobbling a novice down the river!

Oreti riverAnother coaching first today: rowing coaching. We wobbled down the river, to the sounds of screams, I whipped my coaching voice out and everything! 


Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: flat bread & humous, apple
Dinner: home made chicken curry

Exercise: 90 min doubles row

Ben, a long distance triathlete client I coach, fancied a go at rowing. I agreed to take him out. The only stipulation was that under no circumstances must he capsize the boat! I have a 100% non dunking record that I do NOT want to break now! I’m very proud of it!

With a whistle stop quick coaching mini session on the rowing machine (which identified the fact that his technique was in fact all wrong! Hahah) off we went onto the water.

In true Benjamin style, everything is bound to be straight forward, right?

It’s just a case of sitting in the boat and rowing the thing, isn’t it?

Oh how wrong he was going to be!

Rowing boats are designed sleek, long and fast. This means unstable without the correct technique. After learning very quickly what not holding the handles level would do, and learning very quickly what ‘balancing the boat’ actually meant, we were taking it in turns to row, while the other balanced the boat. After I magi acted us under the bridge, we then added feathering. This is where you twist the oar blades between strokes to enable them to clear the water cleanly and closely.

This would not normally be added in the first session. Actually, the initial 1.5 minutes on the erg would normally be 20 minutes or so. It was safe to say we squashed a lot in and I pushed him further outside his comfort zone than he had ever been before. Heck, he couldn’t even SEE the comfort zone any more!

So, shortly after throwing him into the stroke seat of a boat, after only 30 seconds of technique tuition, learning leg drive, wrist position and adding adding feathering (a difficult thing to master) I then, without warning, joined in with the rowing and finished with a race start. Hahahaha hahahaha 😀

I remember from from when I started, how wobbly the boat feels when someone does that after relying on a set of sculls to balance! I pushed and pushed. I ignored his screams, demands to stop, I did in fact at one stage say NO when he said he needed to stop. It’s fair to say he screamed a lot, and I pushed him a long long way in that 90 minute session. I made him join in with a stroke that I had set, more than once (hard from the stroke seat, which usually sets the pace), square blade, legs only, arms only, look behind, steer with your shoulders / legs.

Feathering took me a good while to master when I started. I didn’t manage to row WITH the other person at all on my first outing. Today Ben and I managed a good few sets of ten strokes both rowing, before inevitably I had to stop because he felt so scared that we would tip out! Guess what I did tho solve that? Show him how far the boat can tip without falling out, and what to do with the sculls and body position to correct that.

He’s way too self critical for his own good. Look at the list of things we managed inside out FIRST outing. Bloody amazing, if I do say so myself! I’m glad he doesn’t live here, he’d probably be whipping my ass on the water too, after just a couple more outings!

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