So I remember Harry used to love the RowPerfect (RP3) and get us on it warming up before I went on the water. So we’d spend some time just starting to get this connection working before I got into the boat.
So that would mean just starting the stroke with the catch. So many coaches start at the finish. I’d start at the catch. And you can get it on here really well – just get the handle, stay loose in your arm, loose in your back, and just start making the connection with the quad and getting the feel for what it’s like to pick the boat up and leave all of this very neutral.
And just start to get the feel through the feet and the hands of having the connection to the hands here and the footplate there.
And then start to build that up by just maybe rowing the first 30 centimetres, the first foot, and then starting off for a while, once you’ve got it and you feel comfortable with it, to then start to do a little bit more, maybe so the legs are going flat, legs only but no body, no arms.
And after a while of you getting that, you can start to bring the back in.
Once the back’s coming in, finally bring the arms in, and accelerate and put the whole stroke together.
When we were breaking [?], we would virtually always do that on the rowing machine. I even remember doing it in 1997 before racing the final at the World Championships, warming up on the RowPerfect with Harry talking me through those moves.
And then once I felt I could do it on here, then I could get into the boat, and then the boat was always a bit more wobbly, so when you start you need some nerves to sit right out at frontstops and make a connection. But once I became comfortable, and got over the nerves a bit, I was able to feel a connection from the very beginning.
And for me that was the efficiency of the stroke, to feel the blade in the water from the very beginning of the stroke. Then I could be efficient and move the boat as well as I possibly could and get the maximum for the physiology I had.