What is FLOW sculling?
(with acknowledgement to Jimmy Joy; see “Hanlan’s Spirit: Training for Flow” or “The Quantum Sculler”)
This is the approach to training single scullers that makes most
sense to me from my own experiences in the single over many years, and
from coaching the single for the last 5 years. Jimmy Joy describes
Training for “Flow” far better than me, but here’s a much abridged
summary of what ‘flow’ is about:-
- It is the ultimate objective of the training (achieving the ‘flow’ state)
- It’s also a philosophy and approach to developing as a sculler
In Jimmy’s words:
‘Flow’ is the integration of efficient bodywork combined with fluid blade-work throughout all phases of the stroke cycle.
Each stroke must form a unity and all strokes must be blended fluently and harmoniously
At best, it’s a sense of effortless speed and sustainable energy:-
- Flow denotes the holistic sensation present when we act with a total involvement
And you need an open, creative mind … to explore, to fail, and to achieve.
The philosophy and approach – the 5 stages of FLOW
- Slow down and meditate and develop mindfulness
- Create a relaxed posture starting with the hands on the handles
- Establish a consistent stroke length
- Focus on the 3 major elements in the cycle: Trunk Swing; Leg Drive; Draw of the arms
- Practice and drill until the movements are reflexive, intuitive, and instinctive
Think of your development as a sculler as akin to crossing a bridge, starting with the basics, and progressing to the ultimate objectives, on the other side, of ‘flow’ and shell run.
WORKING ON TECHNIQUE
At times we work on the WHOLE, at other times, on THE PARTS, whilst
recognising that sculling is not 5 mechanistic parts, welded together.
We work on the parts to achieve a ‘rough feel’ for each part, and later
striving for more subtle movements to perfect each part. Returning to
the WHOLE, as each part affects the others, to integrate the sculler,
the blade work, and the boat, contributing to flow and shell run
WHOLE – PARTS – WHOLE
ROUGH – SMOOTH – AUTOMATIC
In other words;
First – A rough feel for the movement – leg drive, trunk movement, arm draw
Later – Specific parts – strive for subtle and economical movements
Finally – Whole movements – integrate the body action with the blades and shell run
MENTAL APPROACH (‘Meditative’)
Develop a relaxed, quiet and focused mind
SLOW MOTION – and perfect – eventually move more quickly. (maximum run per stroke)
Absentee Coach – learn to think independently and judge the pace of the boat