row2k Features
Erg Tricks
Rowing Hack: Handle Height Helper 2.0
April 30, 2024
John FX Flynn, row2k

Here's a good twist on an old trick that UVA Head Coach Kevin Sauer shared from the Cavaliers erg room one morning.

Sauer shot the Rowing Hackers a text that said:

"Here’s the tennis ball handle height hack that you’ve probably seen before BUT it doesn’t keep people from riding the ball with the chain.  If you put the ball behind the guide, it rolls the ball and is much more obvious and annoying!"

Here's video proof.

Instead of wedging the ball into the chain guide the way we described in the original Handle Height Helper hack, Sauer leaves it free to roll when the athlete's hands are low enough for the chain to grab the ball.

Since we all know that nothing teaches and reinforces good habits more than "obvious and annoying" can, we love this spin (pun intended!) on the handle height hacks we've looked at for helping athletes stay-up-into-the-catch on the erg.

The idea, of course, is to keep encourage athletes to erg the way we'd like them to row: with hands coming up and level into the catch, just as if they were about to put the blade in the water--and then to keep driving with level hands...and a chain parallel to the ground.

So, whichever version of this hack you choose to use--from putting tape or a metal bar across the chain guard at the right height, to getting things rolling with an old baseball or tennis ball, to affixing some zip ties as a guide on each erg, or even getting to hacking with some PVC and some jingle bells (seriously!)--rest assured that you are one of many Hackers out there trying to cure this scourge of the sport...and all the best getting those hands to stay up!

Do you have a cool coaching trick like this one? If so, share your ideas--and hacks--in the comments below.

If you have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion, then please send it to us like Kevin did and we will feature your idea in a future column.

If you enjoy and rely on row2k, we need your help to be able to keep doing all this. Though row2k sometimes looks like a big, outside-funded operation, it mainly runs on enthusiasm and grit. Help us keep it coming, thank you! Learn more.


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