The Dutch rowing stroke

The hands

A correct hand position is essential for making a good draw and to avoid wrist injuries. In sculling (rowing with two oars) and sweep rowing (rowing with one oar) the hand positions are different.


The sculling handle is clamped between the fingers and the callus pads just below the fingers. The hands are relaxed on the oar. This can be seen in the figure below.

Sweep rowing

In sweep rowing, the rower keeps one oar fixed with both hands. There is an inner hand and an outer hand:

  • the inner hand is the hand that is on the rigger's side;
  • the outer hand is the hand that is at the end of the handle.

By analogy, one can also speak of inner/outer leg, arm and shoulder. The hands are placed at the handle in line with the shoulders:

  • The inner hand rotates the oar and always remains fixed on the handle. Because the oar slanted on the catch, the outer hand is further away than the inner hand. To compensate for this, the inner arm is bent slightly and relaxed. The outer arm is then fully extended.
  • The outer hand holds the handle at the end. All fingers are placed around the oar around, even the little finger. This is in order to reduce the risk of tendinitis. The outer hand steers the blade and determines the height of the blade above the water.

catch The recovery

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