Standard pick drill
Why? Used as a warm-up at the beginning of practice, both on the erg and in the boat. It helps establish the parts of the stroke and the “order of things” (aka legs > body > arms; arms > body > legs). Great for novices and experienced rowers to establish timing and rhythm among the crew.
How: Rowers complete a set of strokes at a given position and then move on in the stroke progression. A standard pick drill consists of 10 (or more) strokes at arms, followed by 10 at arms and body, 10 at half slide, and culminating in strokes at full slide. Crews with more experience might also add in quarter and three-quarter slide. It is important that the rowers understand that these strokes can determine the outcome of the rest of the practice – the pick drill is when we tune out everything else, and focus inside the boat, working to fine-tune technique.
Pick drill by all 8
Why? This advanced version of the pick drill for more experienced crews demands concentration, relaxation, and timing. Use this drill to establish rhythm, ratio and precise technique throughout a line-up.
How: Together on the feather (or on the square for very advanced crews) all 8 rowers complete a set of strokes at a given position and then move on in the stroke progression. A standard pick drill consists of 10 (or more) strokes at arms, followed by 10 at arms and body, 10 at half slide, and culminating in strokes at full slide.
Why? This advanced version of the pick drill requires concentration, rhythm, and timing. It promotes focus and following.
How: The series of strokes are simple in theory, but a challenge to rowers’ concentration. One set is comprised of the following sequence of strokes, working the pyramid up and then back down to arms only:
arms, arms + body
arms, arms + body, half slide
arms, arms + body, half slide, full slide
Slide Progression Front Stops (Reverse Pick Drill)
Why? This drill teaches correct movement into the catch, placement of the blade, the change of direction, the beginning of the power phase, and correct drive sequence. Emphasis is on posture to ensure a strong connection from the leg drive through to the oar handle.
How: There are four parts to this drill, all to be completed on the square at light pressure:
Part 1 – Sit at the catch with blades square in the water. Tap the hands down to fully remove the blades from the water then lift to fully cover them again. The rowers should complete a series of these taps, working to feel the weight in their hands and to develop a rhythm with stroke seat.
Part 2 – Take the first two inches of the stroke (known as a ‘grip’). From the catch, with the blade buried, drive the legs for just two inches of slide before tapping down to remove the blade from the water. Slide forward to the catch position and repeat the two-inch stroke in a continuous movement.
Part 3 – Extend the length of the stroke to half of the slide (or ‘half drive’).
Part 4 – Extend the length of the stroke to three-quarters of the slide (or ‘three-quarter drive’).