Front End Pick Drill Review

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There are many drills rowers and scullers can do while training, however of all them nothing compares to the Pick Drill. The Pick Drill is your basic bread and butter drill that every oarsman should have in their repertoire. The Pick Drill can be executed from both the Finish of the stroke (the back end) or the Catch of the stroke (the front end). In this post we will discuss the Front End Pick Drill.

The goals of the Front End Pick Drill are the following:

• Practicing Blade Placement

• Control & Balance

• Drive Sequencing

• Catch Timing and Blade Depth

How to execute:

1. Sit at Front Stops with blades fully covered. Keep the body position calm and relaxed while being strong and upright. Use the core to help balance the boat and sit confidently at the catch.

2. First Few Inches – Take the first few inches of the stroke, extract the blades cleanly, and repeat. Feel the blades grip the water at each catch and “squeeze” the stroke without tearing or ripping at the water.

3. Half Slide – After drilling the first few inches lengthen the slide out to half slide and repeat the strokes at this length. Make sure the arms stay long and the body position remains forward, The drive comes solely from the legs at this stage.

4. Legs Only – After the half slide stage lengthen the drive out to include full legs. As before, keep the arms long and the body forward and remain suspended off the oars. The body weight should be up and light off the seat rather than sitting heavy down in the boat. Suspension is key.

5. Legs & Body – The next step is to introduce the body. The body swing connects through the hips and builds from the momentum that the legs have created during the initial drive phase. The focus should remain on staying suspended and accelerating the drive.

6. Full Stroke – Finally engage the arms and complete the full stroke. The arms should add the final piece of acceleration to the stroke and help squeeze the finish off.
As with all drills – practice makes perfect. Do not expect the Front End Pick Drill to be easily done in your first few attempts. However, this drill can significantly improve technique and confidence.

Henry Palmer,  (8.8.14)


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