row2k Features
Rowing Hack Redux: Hacking the Two-Handed Feather
October 8, 2020
John FX Flynn

Surely, somewhere, someone is safely coaching novices as part of our sports annual "fall pledge drive"--that wonderful time of year when the vast majority of folks in our sport got their start, simply by arriving at schools and colleges willing to try something new and getting found/cajoled into trying this "rowing thing."

And, if you are running novice practices, then you are also wresting with that other staple of fall learn-to-row time--the 2-handed feather--and, well, there is an old hack for that: this week's Rowing Hack Redux: The Cup-ed Outside Hand.

When we ran this idea the first time, we had some clever adds in the comments, our favorite of which was sent in by Sandy Killen about his former NYAC teammate and Jr National Team coach Steve Hargis. Coach Hargis' trick was to put a quarter on the knuckle behind the index finger of the outside hand. Keep the wrist flat, you are 25 cents richer. Feather with both hands? Well, now coach is out a quarter, so you are really in trouble!

Even if you are just in the planning stages of a socially-distanced and awkwardly postponed novice season at your boathouse, the cup version of this teaching trick is a neat--and cheaper--one to keep in mind. You can read more about how and why it works, along with the fun novii memories you can help create, by following the link, but we will add that anything that makes learning the tricky bits of the sport more memorable and fun is worth a shot.

Full disclosure, some coaches--ahem--may just use this trick, and the idea of being forced to row with a goofy red cup in your hand, as more of a threat than an actual therapy, but hey: whatever motivates the folks at your place, right?

Those crusty no-fun coaches aside, this is the perfect thing to get younger athletes thinking about the right way to stay connected through the release and feather... and may even help promote the right kind of squaring up that will put all your newbies on the same page with the rest of the program.

So take a look, and good luck growing the sport in the best way we've ever come up with: by throwing open the boat bay doors and welcoming new folks in.

Have a slam dunk trick for learn to row season like this one? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Â Send it to us!

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01/21/2021  10:08:20 AM
That seems a lot more “kind and gentle” than what my high school coach in Philly did to control the problem- tape strapped tongue depresser on your outside hand. If you feather with the outside hand the piece of wood digs into your hand. Luckily I learned quickly, but I had a friend who wore it for 3 weeks - hands bloody as hell.

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