Peterhouse Boat Club Fund

A Few Notes on Coaching

H. A. Leach, June 1955


(1) Do plenty of tubbing even if the crew doesn't need it. Get people to row in the tub. Two people apparently paddling correctly in a tub show up badly when trying to row in a tub.

(2) If the crew is going badly don't listen to the opinions of the members of the crew. They really don't know what's going on. They only know the symptoms; they don't know the causes! Usually the main trouble is bad balance. The commonest cause of this is lack of togetherness. If the timing at the beginning is bad, the balance at the finish will be bad. If the crew does not swing over together on forward swing there will be a lurch at frontstops, because they arrive there at different times. Get the crew to carry their blades high at first. The boat may roll more then than when the blades are carried lower, but the balance will be finer. The commonest cause of lateness at the beginning is not getting blade right down to water.

If stroke complains of being rushed, 7 or 6 or both are probably early. This will not show up in firm but becomes obvious in light & row.

Most of the time cycle well behind the crew. You cannot see if the crew are in time from the side of the boat particularly the far side. Also you cannot see slight washing out.

Pick the fault of the crew rather than the faults of the individuals. If someone is doing something wrong, take him aside after the outing or at any time & tell him. Don't tell him in the boat, although you stress to the crew as a whole the principle that he is violating. If you don't tell him on one side however, usually he will think that the other seven in the boat are violating the principle but not himself. If he thought he was doing it incorrectly he would have improved.

Do not forget to coach Stroke and Cox. Coxes are rarely coached. Stroking a boat is difficult, particularly if the boat is going badly. It is a bad thing to stroke for the whole term. He will be stale by the time of the race, unless he has a very good crew behind him. Coach stroke in the art of stroking.

A man pulling a very strong blade can do more to upset the boat than a weak oarsman. Watch him closely.

Watch the bows of the boat and the rudder. If there is a finish the bows will come out. If the crew is not locked on at the beginning the rudder will stop between strokes. If the crew is locked on properly the rudder at the beginning of the stroke will lift out of the water as soon as the blades enter. As the term progresses people start to underscore their blades & slice the blade into the water. You don't see it in an eight but it shows up in a tub.

The way to get a strong finish is to do finishes in the banked tub; just do the second half of the stroke. This strengthens the muscles in the back which do the drawing.