Henry Rogers wrote:


Thank you for the video clip. It looks a whole lot less floppy and lethargic than the shots that Saturday in Oct/Nov or whenever it was.

My criticisms are:

Back still a bit 'soft' at the finish and body swing continues past extraction. See below for stretcher setting. Moving it may help me cure this.

Too much wrist action at finish when feathering. As I used to be rather keen on 'finger action only' I've obviously got to work hard to get that back.

Although I was just touching frontstops my shins are not vertical at the catch. I could have rolled further so my stretcher has to go one stop towards the bows.

Still some shoulder lift at the catch. More concentration needed.

I really don't know what my catch and finish angles are at present. I did get some photographic help from someone on the Eel Pie footbridge years ago. I don't think my settings have changed much but obviously flexibility is worse. I fear it may not be 60 degrees forward, 35 degrees back any more.

Apart from that I did find it reassuring that the gearing seemed about right. Obviously that's highly provisional but the boat did feel quite lively whereas last autumn I just felt I was sculling through treacle. That would obviously be partly due to improved strength and aerobic fitness but I think trying to get the technique right on the ergo has been a help too. Can't guess at the proportion but sculling isn't just strength and fitness. As my gearing was last changed over five years ago, perhaps much longer, I find all this quite interesting but don't want to draw too many conclusions just yet.

I was so impressed by the work Dominique and Graham were doing. Every stroke they took seemed better and I found myself consciously trying to improve the same things.

Thank you very much for forwarding that extremely valuable clip. I played it repeatedly at quarter speed and then frame by frame.

Worst faults:

Hands still dipping just before the catch and the lift on entry is not complete until some way into the stroke.

Hands need to be lower throughout recovery.

Some of the leg drive is happening before the blades are fully covered

Other faults:

Not enough rock-over immediately after extraction. Some rock-over is still taking place after half way up the slide.

Shins failing to reach vertical on some strokes.

Turning the blade square needs to begin much earlier, even when 'showing off' at low rating.

Hand lift at the catch is still accompanied by back movement which is wasting potential power later.

During the power phase the main back movement is beginning a little too early.

Although the blades are nearly square on extraction, there is a tendency to wash out so tap-down needs to be more pronounced.

Leaning about five degrees too far back at the finish. This looks as if it's an attempt to find enough room for the hands rather than to lengthen the stroke.

Reasonably happy about:

Balance and boat control, though there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Even application of power throughout the stroke.

Length of stroke in the water, subject to need to use the slide fully before the catch and tidy up tap-down, and body angle at finish.

Other points:

Weight related issues - Since your first video footage of me sculling nearly a year ago I have brought my weight down from slightly over 90kg to just on or slightly below 85kg. That shows! I think I've mentioned that in February 2011 it had reached 95kg and although I managed to get it down to 86.5kg that year it began to drift up again and settled at around 90kg for the next year or two. When I was last racing seriously (late 1980s, early 1990s) it was around 80kg most of the time but did fall to 75kg at one point when I was going pretty well. Apart from the obvious implications for health, this has some technical effects, not least the need to find more room for a clean tap-down without too much body lean.

I've mentioned difficulties getting my hips between the boat's shoulders (not a problem when I bought it in 1992) which led me to buying a new seat. At the same time I had a new stretcher fitted and then found I was unable to lower the feet as much as I needed. I did nothing about that as I was not training to race so it wasn't a major issue at the time. So when I had my boat refurbished I made sure I had sufficient adjustment range. You saw the improvement produced by that a few weeks ago.

I tried a normal height seat last week and confirm that although I can just about get through the shoulders, comfort demand that I use the raised one.

The height of my work remains where it was when I was using a normal seat; the shims under the riggers are, as before, standard with zero degrees pitch. The video shows clearly the work is much too low now. So I've bought 4 pairs of angled shims and will start by raising the work 2cm. If that proves too much I can progressively reduce the height of the work. The riggers have adjustable lateral pitch so I'll be correcting that and at the same time making sure the pins are still vertical fore-and-aft.

All the best,