POSTURE! Here’s what you need to know if you’re using it as a coaching cue.
For the best part of 12 years, I’ve had the pleasure of not only teaching, but also working with hundreds if not thousands of trainers, coaches and performance minded people. Some of these have been getting started in the fitness industry and others have been looking to improve their skills as professionals.
Whilst watching a coach take an athlete through a series of rowing drills during one morning class, it dawned on me just how reliant both new and old coaches can become on using words like “posture” as a way of conveying information to our athletes. Sometimes the assumption is the athlete will know what we mean and other times it’s as an expectation of what is being looked for. The problem being, not all of our athletes know what we’re talking about when we say “posture,” and if this is the case all the shouting and cueing is about as good as a chocolate teapot for any athlete on the rower!
Here at Dark Horse we want you as coaches to have an understanding of exactly what the right posture on a rower should be and the positions we are looking for from out athletes, and why giving “posture” as a cue needs to be specific.
IN THE CATCH
Arguably the most important position to be aware of posture is here in the catch. Most importantly here there are 7 key points we want to see:
As a coach/trainer, the ability to spot these points takes time and attention to detail. Bear in mind that a lot of this depends on the mobility of the athlete but develop a coaching cues that get them as close to this as possible is what we are looking for.
Worth noting that this is an active phase, so a lot of what we are going to see here should be in this sequence. However until an athlete learns the ability to fire sequentially it’s your job as a coach to keep them working on maintaining their position and not leaking power as they drive.
So here once again is where we see the biggest deviations in posture, mainly in an attempt to maximize the length of the stroke. Most importantly here we’re looking for a few key things:
Once again an active phase so what we want to see is the athletes ability to control the sequence of movements and allow each one to complete fully before allowing the next to start. This should be fluid and not jerky and most importantly it’s the phse thats setting up your next stroke, so it needs to be purposeful yet not rushed.
QUICK NECK SAVER
Trouble with neck strain after a row session? Make sure your client isn’t throwing their head back as they initiate the stroke and forward to their chest to try to lead the workout. That’s going to increase the compensatory patterns exponentially, unfortunately. Instead, roll up a towel and tucking it in under that chin. This position will keep that head neutral and help relieve the strain.
If you can learn to break each phase down then the movement patterns you are giving the athlete become a lot more fluid. This takes the athlete from having to think of what they are doing at each and every phase, to a place they can rely on the ingrained movement patterns and focus on delivering power through each stroke consistently.
Work the positions and the positions will work for you 100% of the time when it comes to rowing.
Yours in education, training and thinking about posture.