Fresher Manual

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					Fresher Manual
1. Basic Technique 2. Equipment
Boats – types, parts etc. Oar – parts etc

3. Training
Arriving at the boathouse Getting the boat on the water (OTW) Coaching/Coxing commands After session is finished Leaving the boathouse

4. Competition
Head season Regatta season

5. Nutrition

Pre-training Post-training Competition

6. Rowing Terminology
General rower jargon Boats Parts & Equipment Cox Talk

Below are the basics of how we at QUBBC expect our rowers to row. There are many contrasting styles in different crews, however, each crew MUST have all its rowers working as one, and in time, order to make the boat go it’s fastest and win races. The rowing stroke is one continuous motion – at no point do all parts of the body come to a halt, as one body part or muscle group will continue the motion. The rowing stroke, for reference, is divided into four phases: 1. 2. 3. 4. Catch Drive Finish Recovery The blade is in the water during these 3 phases

The Catch - when stationary, this is referred to as FRONT-STOPS.
This is the position which initiates the drive and involves a simple lift of the hands when at full compression. The picture below shows a rower at full compression and about to take the catch in the perfect position. Notice: Shins are vertical Chest is against the inner thigh Back is in a strong position (not collapsed forward or arched) Shoulders are relaxed and stretched out to achieve maximum reach THE ARMS ARE STRAIGHT!!! All that is left to do is raise the hands (not the shoulders) and drop the blade into the water. This leads you to the beginning of the drive phase.

The Drive
The drive phase is conducted by three major muscle groups, the LEGS, BACK and ARMS in that order. The reason they come into play in this order, is due to the force each exerts i.e. ranked by strength: LEGS > BACK > ARMS

Other muscles groups, such as the buttocks, core and upper back are used; but for technical purposes we only refer to legs, back and arms. Consider the diagrams below outlining the drive phase and how it is best executed to exert maximal force.

Here the rower is in the catch position (front-stops). From here the hands are raised and immediately the legs push off the footplate - keeping a strong back and straight arms.

Notice the ‘front splash’ from the rower’s blade as his legs are driving the blade in the water. The rower’s body angle has not changed from the previous shot, ensuring he will achieve good length in the water.

As the legs drive down further, the rower’s back begins to take some of the workload – notice the back angle opening up as his body swings. ** The arms remain straight up to this point **

As the legs near full extension, the body should pivot about the hips whilst keeping a straight back. At this point, maximum force should be being applied i.e. when the oar is perpendicular to the central line of the boat.

Here the rower’s legs are almost fully extended and his back and arms are continuing the stroke. Notice the comfortable, almost natural back angle as he approaches the finish.

The drive phase is completed by drawing the arms through, until the handle of the oar touches the ribs just under the chest. ** The shoulders remained parallel to the oar handle throughout. **

During the drive, the oar handle should be drawn through at a constant height, so that the depth of the spoon in the water is constant. It is important to try and build up the pressure quickly but smoothly, and maintain that pressure all the way through to the finish - think about trying to keep the blade handle moving through as quickly as possible, all the way through the stroke. The legs, back and arms should flow together smoothly, rather than be separate movements.

The Finish – when stationary, this is referred to as BACK-STOPS.
The finish signals the end of the drive phase and initiates the recovery. When arriving to the finish position you simply tap down on the oar handle with the outside hand. Doing this extracts the blade from the water cleanly. It is useful to imagine the outside hand making a semi-circle, as it comes in towards the ribs, taps down and the hands move away. During this movement, try to brush the torso with the thumb of the outside hand and no more. Consider the picture below: Notice: Oar handle is against the ribs, just under the chest. The back angle is natural i.e. not leaning back too far. The outside hand has begun to tap down. ** The finish (back-stops) is a position you will become very familiar with, as it is from this position you begin rowing when the boat is stationary**  The Cox will call “Full crew from back-stops”

The Recovery
During this phase the blade is out of the water and you are preparing to take the next stroke. The recovery can be considered as the mirror-image of the drive. This is because all the movements and muscle groups used are in the reverse order i.e. arms, body then legs. However, the antagonistic muscles are used. Coaches will constantly repeat HANDS-BODY-SLIDE. This outlines that the hands must move away before the body rocks, and the body must rock over before the seat begins to move up the slide. The hands should move at a constant height and constant speed throughout the recovery after taping down. It is only as you approach the catch that they again raise so the blade can reenter. It is good to imagine following your hands from the finish position as they move away from you. When the arms become straightened, the body should pivot about the hips with a straight back so the hands continue to move at a constant speed. When the body swing is complete, the knees bend and you begin to slide into the catch position. Emphasis must be put on “CONTROLLING THE SLIDE” with the hamstrings, so that the catch is approached with you in control of your bodyweight. Controlling the slide is a term you will undoubtedly hear a lot about throughout the year, its purpose will be explained by your coaches (Physics time – YAY!) The grip should be very loose throughout the recovery to release tension in the forearms. Don’t believe me?? Try rowing for 90 minutes gripping the handle the whole time.

The recovery in pictures:

The hands are being pushed away from the body once the blade is clear of the water and feathered. Note the arms are straight and the body is rocked over past vertical by the third shot, with no movement on the seat.

The body is fully over, and now the movement forward on the slide starts. Ideally the body angle should be held constant during the slide - although the upper body should rotate as you reach around towards the catch, mimicking the oar handle. Note the blade is nearly square by half slide - it should be gradually rolled square so that it is fully square by 3/4 slide. Correct rowing technique is not in place to give coaches a reason to nag – it is in place to move the boat most effectively and prevent injury to the rower. Luckily the best way to move a boat proves the most injury free. If you feel you are being targeted by a coach, it is for good reason i.e. to prevent injury. Perfecting technique in the first few months can prove extremely frustrating at times, but you can seek refuge in the fact that no one has a perfect stroke – why do you think we train so much? The best thing is to remain relaxed and try and put into action what the coach tells you. It takes a long time and a lot of commitment for your body to learn good technique. That said it is most definitely worth the blood, sweat and tears when your opponents crumble alongside you – beaten!

There are two types of boats, sweep boats and sculling boats. Sweep rowing – this is when each rower has one oar Sculling boats – this is when each rower has two oars At QUBBC we tend to row in sweep boats more often, particularly eights and fours. An eight can be seen below. A four is essentially the same but with four people, and the cox is at the other end (bow) – we also have coxless fours. STERN The BOSS Stroke Man

7 6 5


4 3 2


Bow Man

BOW Bow ball – MUST cross the line first

This is a pair which is also a sweep boat, although you are unlikely to row one for quite a while as you have to steer it without aid of a cox – this can prove very difficult!!! Pair The remaining boats are sculling boats, namely quads, doubles and singles. Single This is a single scull, a rather difficult boat to balance but a great boat to develop your technique and confidence.



Inside the Boat

Oar/Blade Blade/ Spoon



Collar/ Button


At QUBBC we assign an individual oar to a particular seat in a particular boat. Each set of oars is placed on a particular shelf which is named after the boat. Each oar in the set is banded with tape to distinguish which seat it is for. These bands are on the loom of the blade beside the handle. 4 bands |||| 3 bands ||| 2 bands || 1 band | = stroke and seven seat = six and five seat = four and three seat = two and bow seat

Learn this, as it saves you carrying other peoples’ oars out when launching. When launching Stroke siders are responsible for fetching blades and bow side holds the boat off the step. Getting off the water Stroke siders again take the blades back to the boat house whilst bow side holds the boat. Placing back on the shelf Always put the blades back on their assigned shelf and in their pairs i.e. same banded oars placed on the shelf beside one another. The bow side oars should face one direction and the stroke side oars the other direction, with the face of the spoon facing forward – shown below:

Stroke side oars

Bow side oars


Rowing essentially has two seasons, head season and regatta season. Each has a different arrangement both in terms of training and distance covered during the race. Head Season This takes place September through to March. Head season involves long low-intensity training sessions (UT3, UT2, UT1), which go towards increasing your endurance and lowering your body fat (Some of you may get a shock, as what you previously thought was muscle gets smaller and more vascular). During this period your body is being conditioned and provided with a solid aerobic base. During head season we will also want you to gain some useful muscle, so a lot of time is spent in the gym also. Racing in head season is over distances of up to 7km in a time trail fashion, so the object is to get to the finish line in the fastest time possible, overtaking as many crews as you can on the way. Times are posted for each crew once the event is finished, and the winners announced. There are many Head races in Ireland, including are very own, Lagan Head, but undoubtedly the crème de la crème is the Head of the River Race (HORR) on London Thames, which marks the end of the head season. Over 400 crews from across Europe participate in this eights only event outlining the scale of rowing. This enables us to compare ourselves to the top clubs in Europe, and even international crews at times.

Novice VIII – Head of the River Race (HORR), Tideway London, March 2008

Regatta Season

This takes place from late March through to mid July and is where all the excitement is at. Races are held over distances of up to 2km, meaning the intensity level is increased exponentially. The training around this time will be adapted, so that more short high intensity sessions (TR, AT) are introduced. Winter training prepares you aerobically for regatta season. To think that because it’s a shorter distance, it will be easier, are the thoughts of a foolish man. A 2km will push your body to its limit, and your mind to its breaking point – it burns the same amount of calories in six minutes, as you would expend if you played two basketball games back to back! This equates to a lot of lactic acid, hence burning legs and burning lungs. Racing is conducted alongside your opponents, with up to six lanes in a race. The adrenaline rush of racing, and the thought of not letting your crew down, elevates you to a work-rate you never previously thought possible. The feeling of crossing the line first?? Pure elation, unrivaled by any form of competition.

Fresher VIII – University Boat Race 2008 Winners, June 2008 The regatta season caters for all levels of experience, with novice, intermediate and senior level races offered at most regattas. Queen’s rowing aim to take part in the Irish University Championships, British University & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta, Henley Royal Regatta and Irish Rowing Championships Regatta, year on year. The club also participates in the annual Queen’s vs Trinity Boat Race, hosted on Belfast’s River Lagan. The Irish rowing season finishes off with the event that every crew wants to win, the Irish Rowing Championships in Cork.


It is imperative that training be taken seriously and conducted in a professional manor if you are to stand any chance of competing. The standard of a crew can be assessed by how organized they are and how they conduct themselves during training sessions. Arriving at the boat house  Try to arrive at the boathouse 30 minutes before you are due to be on-the-water  Get adequately warmed up (10 min erg or jog) and stretched and get the boat OTW for the exact time arranged (time is precious – a lesson you will soon learn) Getting the boat on-the-water  During this process everyone must pull their weight or people will get pissed off – BIG TIME  Everyone must lift their own piece of boat, shut up and listen to the cox  Instructions on how this is done will be drilled into your scull cause your are carrying one seriously expensive bit of kit Coaching/coxing commands  Try to familiarize yourself with all the cox’s calls as best you can, as you need to react quick to avoid crashes  Make your cox or coach aware if you cannot hear them at any point because there is no point in them being there otherwise. Maneuvering the boat - the following commands are given on a regular basis Hold it up bury the spoon in the water and push against it with your arms – acts as a braking mechanism. Easy there STOP ROWING when you reach the hands away position (with the blade feathered unless told otherwise) Touch it continue rowing in the body over position i.e. legs fully extended using only the back and arms. Tap it continue rowing at arms only i.e. no back or legs involved Back it down reverse the blade and row in the opposite direction, pushing with the back and arms only. Pick drill – done at the beginning of the outing and consists of the following commands in the order stated. Arms only row sitting at the back-stops position using only the arms (the back stays at the same angle throughout) Bodys over row using only the arms and body – stroke taken when the legs are fully extended, arms are outstretched and the body is rocked over. Quarter slide After reaching the bodys over position break the knees and move two inches on the slide. Half slide After reaching the bodys over position continue along the slide until the legs are half compressed. 3/4 slide As above but until the legs are at ¾ of their full compression Full slide Rowing normally with full compression of the legs and maximum length.

After session is finished  Get the boat off the water and onto trestles under coxes commands.  Wash the boat down with soap suds paying attention to the scum line.  Put the boat back on its shelf in the boat house – carefully!  Add any equipment failures to the repairs notice board – for boathouse man.  Get the launch off the water and onto the trailer  Gather round for feedback from coach  Stretch down  Get a wash you dirt bag Leaving the boathouse  If you are last to leave ensure the lights are switched off, all the doors are locked and the alarm is set.  Finally close the gate in the yard upon departure.

One of the benefits of rowing is that you can eat as much as you want – literally! However, what and when you eat is vital if you are to perform well and continue to improve. Rowers need a high carbohydrate intake to provide the necessary energy to expel during training. Protein is a necessary aid for recovery and preventing muscle degradation. It is also important to maintain well hydrated throughout the day and during training. Carbohydrate sources Pasta, brown rice, potatoes, vegetables, wholegrain bread, cereals, oats, rice pudding, fruit etc.

It is better two eat low GI carbohydrates sources as these release glucose slowly into the blood stream preventing huge insulin release – as this can sack your energy levels. The golden rule is to try and eat as much wholegrain as possible, whether it is rice, cereals or pasta. (Remember: BROWN = GOOD) Protein sources Chicken, red meats, fish, eggs, beans, protein supplements (alternatively powdered milkshake) etc. Fluids Before training it is best to pre-hydrate with isotonic sports drinks. Dilute isotonic drinks (hypotonic) whilst training as water loss is greater. Immediately after training drink very sugary drinks (hypertonic). It is more cost effective to buy powder to mix with water. Pre-training It is vital that you stock up on carbs to provide you with energy, preferably low GI carbohydrate sources. Do not eat too soon before training because if it is intense, you may throw it all back up. Be sure to give your food time to digest – you will become experienced at timing meals. Post-training Immediately after training finishes, ingest as much sugar as you can. This is to replace the glycogen used up in the muscles which is most efficiently done in the 30 minutes after stopping exercise. A good source for this is isotonic sports drinks (Powerade, Lucozade), fizzy drinks (Coke), energy bars (Mars, Boost etc.) or ideally a protein-carbohydrate complex supplement drink. When you get home, prepare a meal with a good balance of protein and carbohydrate to aid your recovery – PIE OUT BIG TIME! Competition (Race Day) One or two days prior to a race it is good to eat predominantly carbohydrate and minimize intake of meat. The reason being that meat may lie in the stomach for up to 24 hours digesting. On the race day eat easily digestible foods such as cereals and pasta, as heavy foods combined with butterflies are bad news! Keep well hydrated the whole day also as you will run the risk of being dehydrated.

General Rower Jargon Stroke man the person at the front of the boat who everyone follows - sets the rhythm Bow man the person who sits at the back of the boat and is first to cross the line in a crew Cox (coxswain) the small person who issues commands, steers the boat and motivates the crew to row hard Novice a rower who has rowed competitively for two years or less Intermediate a rower who has rowed for more than two years or has broken novice

Senior Stroke rate/rate Split Erg Bow side Stroke side Sweep rowing Sculling Crab Slip Shell Inboard Outboard Blade Spoon/blade Head Regatta Paddle OTW UT2 (utilisation 2) UT1 (utilisation 1) AT (anaerobic threshold) TR (oxygen transportation)

status by winning races a rower who has broken intermediate status by winning lots of races at intermediate level the number of strokes you take in a minute the time it would take you to row 500m if you maintained the current output a rowing machine – short for ergometer your oar will go out to the left as you sit in a sweep boat your oar will go out to the right as you sit in a sweep boat when each rower in a boat has one oar each when each rower in a boat has two oars each, one in each hand getting the blade unintentionally caught in the water – avoid these if possible and remember to duck matrix style should it occur step where the boat is put on the water another name for a boat distance between the collar and the end of the handle distance between the collar and the end of the spoon/blade another name for the oar part of the oar which makes contact with the oar long distance time trial race shorter distance (≤ 2km) side by side race less intense training session on the water – will appear in training timetables, emails etc light aerobic, low intensity session - sustainable and fat burning (5570% max HR) high intensity aerobic session, using more oxygen (70-80% max HR) hard work on the aerobic limit. Pushing into anaerobic area (80-85% max HR) – builds mental and physical tolerance working hard, unsustainable for long periods (85-90% max HR) increases cardiac output and develops oxygen transport to the muscles under stress.

Boat Parts/Equipment Stern Forward facing end of the boat as you sit in it Bow End of boat your back faces – end which crosses finish line first Stroke coach electrical device which sits in the boat in front of the stroke man and enables them to monitor their rate, split etc. Cox box electrical audio device the cox uses to speak into and is connected to speakers. Also provides cox with rate, speed, split etc. Slides/runners what the seat rolls up and down as you row Foot plate a metal plate that the shoes are fixed to in the boat – push of this as hard as you can Stretcher adjustable cross member that the footplate is attached to

Compartment/hatch Hatch cover Rigger Rigger Jigger Gate Pin Top nut Bow ball Canvas Fin Rudder Trestle Boat ties

storage place under your seat circular lid for the hatch, make sure this well secured metal frame fixed to the side of a boat which the oar pivots around special rowing spanner/wrench with a 10mm and 13mm end – all you need for adjusting parts of a racing shell piece of plastic which the collar of the oar rests against and the oar rotates in metal bar fixed vertically to the rigger which the gate rotates about 13mm bolt at top of the pin which tightens the gate to the rigger (backstay) ball at the bow of the boat which minimizes impact should the shell receive a bump part of boat between bow man and the bow ball piece of metal on the underside of a boat piece of metal/plastic on the underside of the boat, which enables the cox to steer the boat wooden apparatus which boats are set on for washing etc. harness used to fix boats to the trailer

Cox Talk Feathered blade Square blade Chop spin Scissor spin Long spin Waists Shoulders Above heads Split to sides

when the spoon of the blade lies flat, parallel to the surface of the water when the spoon of the blade lies perpendicular to the surface of the water method of turning the boat if your class – requires timing even better method (debatable) easy method of turning the boat especially in rough conditions– all will be explained lift the boat to waist height lift the boat to shoulder height press the boat above your head – standing central to the line of the shell from above heads, step opposite your rigger and take the boat to shoulders –

Inhouse Outhouse Eye on your riggers Tap it Touch it Back it Hands away Easy there Hold it up Hands on Chop

may or may not come naturally! walk the boat into the boat house SLOWLY walk the boat out of the boat house into the yard – towards Cutters bar what it says – make sure your rigger isn’t going to collide with anything – if it is make everyone aware by shouting easy row continuously with the arms only – used to turn boat row continuously with the arms and body only – used to turn boat flip the spoon round and row the opposite way around i.e. pushing with the arms and body – used during spinning or moving the boat in the opposite direction onto a pontoon or slip at the finish (back-stops) position with the arms fully extended out and the blade of the water feathered stop rowing when you hit the hands away position with the blade feathered jar your blade in the water and push against it – braking mechanism get your hands on the boat asap and get ready to do what the cox says speed up the entry of the blade at the catch and get in time

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