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Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Written by Martin Kay

Q: “What is the point of this sport, expressed in one line?”

A: “It is the business of getting a boat from A to B in the fastest possible time”

These Five Points of Rowing encapsulate the essential factors needed to enable the athlete to carry out this job in the best possible way and win the race.

Three physical ones and two mental ones:

1. Power: Rowing is essentially a power sport. Power = Force x Velocity.

The athlete provides the driving force DF. The passage through surrounding water and air creates an unavoidable drag UDR which results in a residual net positive force DF-UDR being left available to drive the boat onward at the relevant points in the stroke.

The net force DF-UDR applied to the combined mass of the boat plus the athlete produces an acceleration. This acceleration results in increased velocity across the water so long as DF is greater than UDR. Minimising UDR by Avoidance of Boat-Stopping is the key to this.

So the athlete develops strength needed in training and the ability to apply it with quickness in order to create the power needed and resulting in a satisfactory distance travelled per stroke. Strength and slowness of action can never move the boat fast.

2. Endurance: Very simply – its all about carrying out the application of power for long enough to get there first. The longer the passage of time during the performance piece that DF- UDR is sufficiently positive through each stroke, the longer time that the distance per stroke will be maintained, hence you will go faster.

Training at various load levels and getting the related quickness of application develops the engine which drives the boat. Recovery from training and racing is essential and is the key to moving forward to your next endurance level. Study how to recover properly.

3. Technique: If you want to drive a big nail, it does not matter if, despite having a bigger hammer than your competitor, you cannot hit the nail truly on the head with ease and fluidity. “If you can’t do it easily, you can’t do it at all”. (Steve Fairbairn)