The approach


Once you've figured out which rowing mistake gets your attention, you can analyse the mistake. Two points are central to this analysis:

  1. determine the underlying cause for the mistake, know what causes it and where it arises;
  2. find the most effective intervention, which will best help the rower to correct the mistake.

Analysing mistakes seems very easy, but in practice it is hard. Because rowing is a cyclical movement, it is difficult to specify exactly where a mistake occurs. Cause and effect don't have to be at the same point of the rowing motion. The cyclical character means that the cause can lie at an earlier moment in the movement.

Tackling the cause is often more effective than reducing the consequences. That makes the next question important: 'What makes the rower do this?' After that, a well-considered choice can be made for the best approach.

Choosing the most effective intervention is important in order to achieve maximum efficiency within the available time. That is why a good coach consciously chooses the means, approach, place and moment for his instruction. Because in general it can be said that the worst way to teach a rower to row is to always instruct him in the same boat, in the same crew and in the same set-up.


Where is the best place to tackle mistake in a Rowing bin on a Rowing machine or the boat ? Does the association have a  Rowing bin or just  Rowing machines? And if the boat is the best, which boat is preferable for the mistake?

Means: bin/rowing machine/boat (which one?)


Which approach is most beneficial to the rower?

The Classic approach, where he is instructed from wide to narrow, the cybernetic method where the rower is immediately put in a narrow boat or a differential approach?

Cybernetic approach, – the name says it all – assumes that the feedback of the boat is sufficient to learn the rowing motion. Boats with the most feedback are racing shells with as few rowers as possible (coxless pair and single scull).

The Motor approach challenges the premise that the more often the ideal movement is repeated, the better one becomes at that movement. This approach assumes that variations between motions are necessary to challenge the brain and to learn effectively.

In a motor approach, the mistake is corrected by making a lot of different movement variations. Think, for example, of learning the correct trunk rotation by bending in a lot and not bending in at all. Varying the bend angle of the trunk makes it easier to find the right angle.

When using motor learning, you can also think of, for example, learning a catch by artificially increasing and decreasing the water speed. For example, by hanging a drag strap behind the C- boat or by taking place in a double eight. It goes without saying that a combination of these approaches – and even more so a conscious choice for the most effective approach for the situation – gives the greatest return.

Approach: classic/cybernetic/motor


It is also important to determine where you are as a coach. Coaching from the cox seat, or is it better to have a side view and use a the bike. Are you (with your video camera) on the pontoon or are you sailing next to it in a boat. Which place is most effective?

Place: pontoon/cox seat/bicycle/other boat


Finally, the moment of intervention is important. Do you stop the crew or intervene while rowing? Are you performing an intervention now, at the turning point or after the training?

A special form of intervention is making a video and showing it to the rowers after the training. The easiest way to make such a video is pontoon with your smartphone or camera, have the crew row past the pontoon and then film 8-10 seconds or 4-5 strokes. Make sure all blades are always in view. When you play this video repetitively, you have plenty of time to give feedback.

Moment: stationary on the way/stationary at the turning point/rowing/video afterwards

Prioritize Prioritise
Intervene Intervene

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