This week, I’ve had my thinking cap on. Why? Because it’s that time of the year when I start to panic about my stroke, and blame that for not getting any faster.
Well, it turns out that this time round, I may be right. I don’t think my old stroke was stopping me getting faster, I just think I was reaching the peak of how fast I could get by not quite hitting the technique right.
The problem? My previous thought had been just to do with my back-swing. That I was swinging too soon and therefore making up for the energy leak with upper body tension (this being the “peak” of what I’m able to produce).
But after posting a slow mo video to the Concept 2 Indoor Rowing Facebook hub – there were a few other issues pointed out.
And the main one wasn’t that I was swinging my back too soon on the drive – it was that I was swinging it too slowly on the recovery!! This means that I’m approaching the catch all wrong, and doing an odd extra reach/collapse into the catch before the drive.
The result of this is firstly that I’m then not connecting properly at the drive but there’s also a small dead space when I’m picking up the chain rather than hitting the fly wheel.
So I’ve spent most of the week trying to fix this. I think 90% of the time I’m getting the backswing forward a lot better. Not the best of videos below, but it’s a good indication.
However. What this then made a lot easier to see – especially on the third stroke in slow motion is that I have a bit of a “scoot” in my backside before connecting with the drive properly. And this IS the problem.
I think I’ve been making up for it with my old stroke, but now that I’m not slumping forward into the catch, this scoot really shows off how I’m not connecting through the first part of the drive, which then leads to a hiccup in my power curve.
Where the curve should be a smooth parabola, curve up, curve down – it’s like Mt Everest right now. Straight slope up, two little kinks, then straight slope down again.
THIS – I’m finding a lot tougher to correct. I’m working on single leg (one on the floor) drills where I just rock in and out of the catch. Legs only drills, legs and back, pause drills – everything. But I’m finding it tricky to hit the timing right.
Hopefully practise will get there for me. Not long till the season begins – and currently I’m going slower and getting tired quicker. Which isn’t helpful…