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Form [rowing]

Rowing practice yesterday morning was intense. Our program's head coach has an incredible eye for detail when it comes to proper rowing form. There's the matter on top of that, too, of instilling a keen sense of body awareness through the full rowing stroke.

It can be tempting to think of one's time on an indoor rowing machine as "just erging," but that can have negative repercussions once it's time to get back on the water again. Simply going through the motions can quickly instill bad habits and poor body awareness.

Things for me to think about: transfer of weight on my feet (heels at finish to balls of feet at catch); gentle approach into the catch (reaching the same catch position every stroke); tucking my legs underneath me (holding good body posture through the recovery); setting my core at the release so my shoulders stay relaxed (not overdoing layback); holding the proper hand position at the release (straight extension from all fingers to the elbow). I feel like I have a new awareness about the release portion of the stroke, which could explain why my finishes have been so sloppy for so long. I also now better understand how to correct the slumping that Coach Y identified during our on-water practices.

For my final meters of the annual Holiday Challenge*, I got to erg on slides set up for two ergs in tandem (like this). My erging partner was a 1x sculler and coach who rowed for the University of Washington back in the 80's - a funny connection to encounter out here, but there you have it. It has been a while since I've erged on slides so we crashed around a little bit on the first couple of strokes before hitting stride. For me this part was a bit like what it was like to get to row with one of the members of the Serious Double - the best way for a rower to improve is to rely on the good graces of rowers who are more skilled. I managed to stay focused through the first 5 km of a 6k piece but it took a lot of concentration. I hope J will tolerate more of this here and there in the future, but it's not my decision to make.

I hope I can keep these productive changes going. It was one of those, "Oh, so THAT'S how it's supposed to feel!" kinds of practices. It made me hungry for more.

*Holiday Challenge: erg 200km between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, which generally works out to around 6k/day if a person ergs every single day.

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