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Tell Me Rowers
A coach's poem
by John Turner, head rowing coach, Sacred Heart University/Fairfield College Preparatory School
posted on March 13, 2008

Tell me rowers eight and strong, why do you pull the boat along? And all reply aloud in song:
"To row as one, and know no wrong!"

Well, when the boat does swiftly glide, much strain and pain you surely hide?
"The hull clefts deftly through the tide; that we struggle to abide."

But what technique to keep from slowing stays paramount while hardly showing?
"Fool the boat to get her going; sneak toward the catch without her knowing."

And when the oars all drop together, tell me so, if not or whether:
They've eight just floated lightly feathered, with equal space all eight a' nether?

"Oh, hands away" the eight agree, "and out at height above the knee;
To eight the height the same must be to balance level with the sea."

When all oars turn from flat to squared, how roll the eight - the pattern shared?
"The time will come to come prepared; into the coming plunk we've stared."

But the drop, the catch - how can you know, quite when to let your arm let go?
"As the rhythm grows it shows just when to take the chunk below."

And driving legs from bent to straight, just when do eight initiate?
"With fingers taking first the weight, then we never hesitate."

But with the river rushing by, when along do all eight try?
"To catch up 'till a' square they lie - amid our open backs a' pry."

And number nine ~ there all the time ~what work is yours within the rhyme?
"To hold the line with helm sublime, and press these thoughts into their minds."


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