No matter the sports...running, biking, or rowing, efficiency in movement will undoubtedly bring better performance. So why don't we practice the movement patterns better? Well, everyone gets caught up in the skills or game aspect. From when we were kids, we played a lot of games. It was fun. We learned the game then we played it, competed at it...over and over. As we get older we get bigger, faster and our skill set hopefully follows. And sometimes it doesn't. In many instances we don't take the time to really focus and train the mechanics and establish a foundation upon which to develop stronger.
For Rowing, movement skills and mechanics always needs to be addressed and practiced whether one is on the water or on an ergometer. This is where long term development can be achieved, and prevent short term burnout while giving young athletes a foundation for future development and a continued love of their sport.
In the video below, a crew is rowing an indoor 2,000 meter performance piece for time. It is a strenuous 6-7 min test in power and endurance for rowers. It tests one's strength, endurance and overall fitness for rowing.
The rower who finishes first in this video has very smooth application of power and proper technique on the recovery phase that allows him to stay efficient and powerful despite ongoing fatigue. He looks relaxed as he rows. As you watch the video, see if you can tell who it is within the 1st 20 strokes (then you can zip to the end). As for the others, they look good to the common eye, but breakdown in efficiency is evident. Lifting of shoulders, breaking of the arms as they apply power all contributes to an inefficient stroke and slower time.
In rowing, one must row on the erg as they do on the water. Unfortunately many young rowers do not. Many coaches are primarily looking for low scores and stress just pulling hard.. Yes, that is important, but as they say "ergs sink". As a rower, be sure to first row well, then learn to pull hard within the mechanics given. In turn you'll learn to row efficiently and over time have more potential.
Regardless of the sport, body mechanics/movement patterns are critical and must be practiced in order for it to be permanent. Taking time to teach the body the foundations of movement and consistently rehearse it will set the proper foundations from which to develop and find your true potential.