Have you ever tried to pat your head and rub your tummy? You have to really think about it to do the movements distinctly. With practice and focus, you can get it right, but often, it just turns into a big, uncoordinated mess. That’s how I see the preparation phase of the recovery on the rowing stroke. Having fast hands and setting your back angle is like patting your head, and keeping your seat still and patient while you do your upper body business is like rubbing your tummy. It takes a bit of coordination to get the movements just right before you glide into the catch.
After you finish the drive, it is key to redirect the hands and the back angle toward the flywheel BEFORE you release the seat. It’s so easy to rush back into the catch and lump the distinctive movements of the recovery of “arms, back, and legs” into one big simultaneous movement. It takes practice, coordination, and patience to hold that seat in place a split second longer so you can finish your upper body business in the right order.
I like to tell my rowers to “finish their business before they move the seat” so they can be prepared early as they approach the catch for the next stroke. If you have unfinished business coming in (knees bent before anything else happens or bending knees at the same time as you redirect your arms and back) you will not be prepared at the catch. And that means you lose power, control and efficiency. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Discipline yourself to take your time on the recovery and prepare well. No “unfinished business”. You might find out that rowing just got a little easier.