My programme

Faster Sculling – Week-end 2 – 26th & 27th October – Durham

Saturday 26th – Singles rigged at 9.30 ready for 10.00am start. Please read article on Faster Sculling in advance, just my take on some of the key technical points that can help you to go faster.

Session 1 – in quad, double, and singles. Reprise of drills for parts of the stroke with stable platform. DRIVE, RELEASE, RECOVERY, CATCH.

Session 2 – In singles. Steady state paddle with drills focus. Then 500 metre piece with ‘up 2’ progression, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, holding on to good technique. Individual coaching feedback and go pro video.

Session 3 – How to race Durham Head. Against the stream, effects. Involuntary and Voluntary ferry glide. How to take Elvet. Elvet practice. Hatfield to Baths steering and time trial practice. Steering the rest of the course. Pace judgement and relaxation.

Sunday 27th – Session 1 – Durham Head – time trial – half pressure then full pressure

Discussion session in break – Handling nerves and ‘mental resilience’

Session 2 – Select own drills focus and go pro video. 3k steady state or time trial.


Friday 16th August – 9.30am

Last time ..

Thanks for all those who emailed me with requests for things to cover.

Intro to the day; checking 3 sessions meets individual needs/requests

Session 1

Reminder of carrying, launching, getting away, making a landing

Feeling confident in the single – balance and skills exercises; backing down, spinning, emergency stop; what to do if you capsize; staying safe and spotting for each other

Free paddle to assess individual sculling skills

Coffee break and land session – how to set up your scull – the basics. I’ll try to make this as straight forward as possible

*If you want to know more about rigging please read the article emailed to you in advance – “Rigging – not a dark art”

Session 2

Sound sculling technique – The Drive & The Release

What contributes to efficient and fast sculling; drills and longer paddle


Session 3

Sound sculling technique – The Recovery and The Catch

What contributes to efficient and fast sculling

How to continually improve as a single (and crew) sculler

*This website has short sculling demo videos you can watch before or after the 1 day programme: details below

For Session 1

Sculling videos – How to ..

How to get away; Backing down – 2 ways; Spinning

For Session 2

My sculling – My videos – drills

Drive drills; Release drills

For Session 3

My sculling – My videos – drills

Catch drills


‘Week-end 2, 10th/11th August 2019 at Durham or Derwent Reservoir on the Saturday, and then Ebchester Boat club on the Sunday.

‘Back in the day’, may have been the 70’s I think I coxed at Ebchester Regatta – it’s a bit of a blur. The last regatta was in 1973 .. and this is Sunday 4th August 2019. Most pairs and scullers were going down the course in about a minute, but the top 2 men took just over 39 seconds!

The Mens (under 50) Champion with the Beveridge Cup – 39.15 seconds

We will be the same group as before, Vaughan, Nicola, Julie, Vickie, Linda, June from Durham, Lucy and Sarah from Ebchester, Stefan from Lakeland (taking part, and helping lead some sessions), plus Morna from Lakeland, who couldn’t make the first session. Mick Dee of Durham/Ebchester will also support the coaching, safety boat, and regatta arrangements at Derwent/Ebchester, much thanks to him.

Saturday is weather dependent. If the winds are kind, under 10mph and from a favourable direction we’ll go to Derwent Reservoir, leave the trailer there overnight, then take it the 5 miles to Ebchester Boat Club on Sunday.

If not, Saturday will be at Durham.

Saturday – 9.30am rig singles for 10am start (Derwent Reservoir or Durham)

Session 1

Reprise of the Drive, Finish, and Catch, and those things that, over time, will make you a better, faster, sculler. Which are the priority for you at present??

The Recovery – the myth of the 2: 1 ratio, Rhythm and Ratio; letting the boat run/not stopping the boat – 2 drills for the Recovery

Long steady paddle at low rating focusing on shell run. Then playing with the rate, up 2, up 2, etc.

Break with short discussion on ‘Sick of nerves’ (Mental Resilience). Please read article as pre-work. (My programme – Mental Resilience)

Session 2

Steering & Racing

Durham or Derwent Reservoir will offer very different ‘opportunities’ and challenges.

How do you steer? “Pull harder on one side” he said. Sounds good to me!

But there’s big bends, minor adjustments on straight courses, effects of stream, wind, and tide. Did I mention bridges? And rounding the buoy at Ebchester regatta! Learning different race courses.

Steering practice – straight course, bends, alongside adjustments, bridges involving stream.

Sunday – 9.30am rig singles for 10am start. (Ebchester Boat Club)

Our mini Regatta will be THE … second one since the 1973, beaten by one week by the Explore regatta which took place last Sunday 4th August.

The winner in 1973 was our own Clive Hole and he was there last Sunday with his men’s singles pot.

Clive beat Jock Wishart in the final …

It’s a beautiful little course, around 200 metres and reasonably narrow. Ideal for a regatta, just between us. No need to be … ‘sick with nerves’. It really doesn’t matter. Just a chance to practice and experiment ..

Session 1

Race practice

Racing starts; Racing starts and transition to race pace; Steering the Course; Pacing and Rating; Mental preparation with partner coach

3 time trials to determine racing strategy over 200 metre sprint course.

Practice rounding the buoy

3 practice time trials over 400 metre return course

Session 2

The mini Regatta

The 200 metre time trial

Followed by

The 400 metre ‘round the buoy’ return race, knockouts, with semi-finals and final.

If the weather is reasonable we could have a bbq to finish around 3pm?

Andy Jaggard – 3rd August 2019

1st week-end at Durham ARC, and Derwent Reservoir

Canadian rower Silken Laumann, from Mississauga, strains as she rows her single scull over the last few metres to the finish line of the Olympic women’s single sculls 1992, winning bronze, despite a serious leg injury 10 weeks earlier. Photo credit: Ron Poling

The Programme will run over 2 week-ends (27th/28th July & 10th/11th August) with a follow up in the Autumn. It will run at Durham and Derwent Reservoir (by kind permission of Ebchester Boat club) Decisions on which venue to use, for each day, will be made based on the weather forecast. Nominally 27th July will be at Durham and 28th July at Derwent Reservoir. The 2 very different venues provide very different opportunities to work on fast single sculling.

Below is an outline of the content of the 5 sessions on the 1st weekend (sessions may vary depending on location and weather conditions)

Most sessions will have a mix of:

Technical workshops

& Exercises for Speed & Efficiency

& Racing ‘Nous’

27th July

Singles rigged by 8.30 ready for 9am start

Session 1

500 metre benchmark time trial

Free scull/ Individual Review & Initial feed back

Session 2

Drive technique workshop

Comfort at catch, “ABC”, Single stroke draw-throughs (distance per stroke)

Arms/body to full – ergo/simulator/on-water – sequencing/suspension

Steady state long paddle – low rate (distance per stroke) 4 – 6k

Session 3

Catch technique workshop

Throwaway catch; Grip; Rollups into Catch-Connect-Drive

Free paddle – Catch and Drive

Pair up for ‘battle paddling’

28th July

Session 4

Racing starts – 3 + 5

Racing starts into Transition – 3 + 5 + 10

Sprint course – Time trial x 3

Alongside sprinting with handicapping

Leapfrogging (steering and sprinting)

Session 5

Finish/release technique workshop

Hold finish/keep resistance/use of hands/out of back of puddle

Smooth release

Powerful smooth finishes

Arms body, add slide

Arms/body/ ¼ slide / ½ slide / ¾ slide race/200 metre time trial

Go pro video of 200 metre sprint

Go pro video of 500 metre time trial

2nd Week-end – 10th, 11th August

The plan for the week-end to be decided after the end of the 1st week-end. But there are plans on Sunday 11th to trial a Sprint time trial regatta at Ebchester Boat Club.

Andy Jaggard – July 2019


Thanks for the ‘warm welcome’. Hoping we can arrange a follow up session in mid summer to complete more of the planned programme, than was possible, in the challenging conditions, on the last week-end.

Session 1 – Saturday say 9.00 till 10.15
Sculling Review and Individual Feedback and Coaching
A relatively quick session close to the club, probably in 3 groups. A warm-up paddle, then a quick reprise of Drive and Release drills, then a paddle round a set course with the coach picking up each sculler in turn, for feedback and to identify one or two current priorities to work on. Some immediate quick exercises to do.
10.15 till 10.45 – mini-session (on shore) – ‘It’s all in the hands’ simulation of left-hand leading and thumb, fingers and wrist feather and square (important for The Catch)
Session 2 – Saturday say 11.15 till 13.15 – Catch workshop
We started talking about the catch at Durham. (It would be useful if you could look at the 3 ‘Catch’ videos from the Durham camp notes in advance – see session 5, Durham Camp)) Between the 3 videos they show – ‘The Catch itself’ and ‘The Timing of the Catch’.
We’ll start in one group for demos and explanation. Being Comfortable at full Compression; The Catch itself; Catch timing; and finally the feeling you need to have when you Connect to the water. These are mostly simple drills that build up, to gradually develop your skills to execute the Catch skilfully.
We’ll split into 3 groups by level/experience and each coach will decide which drills are most appropriate. These will be stationary, them moving drills. Then we’ll go for a long paddle with lots of opportunity to consolidate
13.15 – Lunch then an extended break till 15.15 – go for a walk, go to a café?
Session 3 – Saturday say 15.15 to 16.30 -More of a free paddle/flow sculling
Again in 2 or 3 groups. Flow sculling – 5 parts of stroke – how each part affects other parts. Key points for fluidity and speed. Long scull working on flow with individual ‘alongside’ coaching or Reprise of drills/parts of the stroke. Long paddle to combine into fluid/rhythmic sculling
Session 4 – Sunday say 9.00 till 10.30
Skills test (to include buddy rescue simulation)
Paddled triangular course
Video of each sculler ready for post – programme video analysis Go-pro from ‘alongside single’
Each sculler to complete each activity in 3 small groups
Session 5 – Sunday say 12.00 till 15.00 (includes 13.15 – 14.00 break on shore with drinks/snacks)
Weather dependent but more of an expedition, with rescue boat support.
11.30. – Safety and Routes briefing/decision on which group to paddle with/safety back up, and spare kit. ‘Buddy rescue’/safety boat rescue procedure
12.00 Leave in 3 groups Safety boat support (from 12.00), also carrying spare kit/clothing for each sculler and lunch. Photos/Video of groups
13.15 Ideally whole group would meet up at break location on the shore. 3 groups will get there by different routes.
Timings of each group could allow for stops on the way for some specific challenges.
An option could be to use a double to allow individual practice with a stable platform and more speed to. 1 or 2 doubles available ? from 12.00 till 15.00
Long consolidating paddle for all.
15.30 Pack up
16.30 Follow up/next steps?
Andy Jaggard – 7th April 2019
Catch Drills
Comfort at full Compression – blades in safe position, then squared, then tapping
Catch itself – throw away action, practice on 1 side at a time going in large circle
Catch timing – roll ups: from backstops ½ slide; ¾ slide; full slide; roll up, followed by slo-mo catch/connect drive, then real time
Connection – backing down into catch at ½ slide, ¾ slide, full slide (backwards and forwards blades stay in water throughout)

PRACTICE OVER THE NEXT 2 WEEKS:To get the most from the Lakeland Sculling Camp you need to consolidate and build on what we did over last week-end. Aim to fit in at least 3 sessions. Please only do this with a coach/experienced person present, or with good safety cover.The priority is building confidence and refining technique. If you don’t have a coach with you, design your own session, don’t just “yomp”.

A good session will have a mix of: 1. boat handling skills to build confidence and control of the single; 2. drills to perfect technique of one part of the stroke; 3. steady state paddling, gradually increasing pressure and speed.Here’s some of the things to choose from under each:

Boat- handling: safe position, circling hands, rigger dips;  1 blade on water other blade taking touches or back downs (non-paddling hand controls the balance); backing down on both sides (as boat moves backwards, reverse the feather so blades don’t “drown”) ; spinning including with slide  ; emergency stop (hold her up, then hold her hard) ; sitting at front-stops with blades in safe position, then squared; standing up in the scull (only kidding, we’ll do that next time)

Drills: The drive (ABC of a powerful drive, see notes & video under Durham Sculling Camp), then single stroke draw throughs finishing with a brief pause at backstops) Allow the blades to skim, then gradually as speed increases get the blades off the water). The release (practice on 1 side only, feel how the blade wants to come out of the back of the puddle, than arms and body only, hold the finish, smooth release.

Steady state paddling:Aim for half to two thirds pressure at low rating – 20 – 22 with ‘ratio and rhythm’. You could also start with arms and body only, increase pressure and speed, then add a few inches of slide, gradually building to full slide. If technique breaks down, start again from arms and body. Also try looking over one shoulder as you take the stroke to see where you’re headed, see what’s in front of you. Learning to relax is key …


1st Weekend 30/31 March – Durham:There will be 5 or 6 sessions over the week-end with extended breaks for coffee & lunch and some r & r time. Below is the plan for sessions although this may flex according to progress/weather conditions etc. We will aim for a 9am start on the Saturday, ideally with singles on trestles. We will aim to finish around 4/5pm on Sunday.

Session 1

  • ‘Quick and dirty’ boat set-up – feet/finish/gates/blades
  • Getting in and out of the single
  • Getting away from/into the landing stage
  • Balance and Confidence exercises
  • Grip/The relaxed hand

Session 2

  • Intro to the 5 parts of the stroke – sculling simulatoar
  • The Drive – ergo
  • The Drive – on water
  • Getting to full compression
  • Drive drills – ‘ABC’; Single stroke draw throughs; Arms/body to full slide
  • Practice in 2 groups
  • Emergency stop and warnings to other scullers

Recommended drills – video

Drill: ABC of a Powerful Drive (Sit at backstops with blades square in the water, note position of hands, then the same at half slide, then the same at front-stops. From front-stops – draw through with a smooth horizontal action – connecting points A, B and C. Then single stroke ‘draw throughs’ with pause at backstops.)

Video: ABC of a Powerful Drive – Perfecting your Rowing by Charlotte Hollings of rowingwithcalmwaters

During extended lunch break:Practice time (in groups of 4) – Grip/the relaxed hand/feather and square/left hand leading on sculling simulatoar

Video:  You tube video “RECOVERY TO CATCH – HOW TO POSITION YOUR HANDS” Charlotte Hollings of rowingwithcalmwaters

Session 3

  • Backing down (2 ways)
  • Spinning (incl full slide)
  • The Release
  • Release drills – 1 blade; Arms & body + add slide
  • Left hand leading – use of the hands
  • Practice drills in 2 groups – Release and left hand leading
  • Drive and Release steady state paddling – 500 metre stretch
  • Self rescue and Buddy rescue – introD

Drills – Release: One blade only  (just practice holding the finish, feeling how blade wants to come out of the water, subtle use of thumb, fingers and wrist, creating a tight swirly puddle)

Arms and body only (focus on the finish, holding the finish with blades covered, and a smooth release; then extend gradually adding some slide but still focusing on the finish)

Left leading & Arms and Body (Now add focus on left hand leading: arms and body only; off set shoulders; at first exaggerate left leading, right coming back with clear separation between the hands, then as normal with knuckles of right hand brushing heel of left hand going forward

Video: You tube video “RECOVERY TO CATCH – HOW TO POSITION YOUR HANDS” Charlotte Hollings of rowingwithcalmwaters

SAFETY/IN EVENT OF CAPSIZE:Stay on right hand side of river. Spot for the person behind you – tell them if straying to the wrong side. Give them information about what’s in front of them/or say “have a look sculler”. If someone falls in – most experienced person around takes charge

Recommended methods on the Wear at Durham

  1. Stay with scull
  2. Right the scull – reach over and pull

If in depth:Hold handles together with blades flat on water (ie ‘safe position’) Get back into scull either “sidesaddle” or by straddling the boat

If out of depth: Get both blades back in place (reach over, or swim round if still out of your depth) and hold handles together. Await ‘buddy rescue’ if there is someone experienced around.

In very cold weather get out of the water as soon as possible either by swimming boat to bank or at least getting your upper body out of the water and over the boat.

Full self-rescue method:- You can hurt yourself trying to get back into the scull so I am not recommending the technique shown in the video. But this is the complete self-rescue method. Kick and get body over seat; turn over – bum on seat. (You need to be very athletic to do this).The purpose of watching the video is to show the whole process so you can understand the relevant parts, as above, for a self rescue on the Wear at Durham.

Video: “How to get back into your scull after flipping” – rowingwithcalmwaters

Session 4

  • The Recovery
  • “Zink-Zink”– Rhythm and ratio, shell run, not stopping the boat
  • From Release to Catch – body action; hands
  • Recovery drills – half slide mini pause; hands follow through; low rating with slide control
  • How to steer; How to spot for self and others
  • Steering practice – straig

Drills: Recovery: Recovery sequence with blades flat on water (This keeps the boat balanced so you can focus on the arms, body, slide sequence and having the body ‘set’ by half slide then continuing into front-stops with slide only)

Half slide mini pause (just a brief pause at half slide to check that you have achieved the rock over, then gliding on into front-stops). Then continuous sculling with body ‘set’ by half slide and “glide” into front-stops

Steady state low rating sculling to practice the whole thing – sequence, relaxation, rhythm and ratio. Counting can help with ratio, 1 – 2 – 3! up the slide – 4!, through the water


Session 5

  • Catch workshop – (Catch itself and Catch timing)
  • Being comfortable at Catch position – drills
  • Catch itself – light hands; unweight blade; throw away action
  • Catch timing – instantaneous on arrival- catch-connect-drive slo-mo and real time
  • Connection – back down to push to feel connection; hands at furthest reach; leave hands behind
  • Practice drills in 2 groups in sequence: 1. Comfort catch position 2. Catch itself 3.Connection/timing

Recommended drills – videos


To relax at catch position – (if rigid with anxiety not effective boat mover. Sit still at catch with blades feathered, notice any tension in face and hands, keep weight over keel, and hands at same height. Now – Repeat process with squared blades. Next – Repeat plus Tapping at the Catch)

Now the Catch. Two parts

The Catch itself. Relies on ‘the relaxed hand’, light grip (think 1 out of 10) to ‘unweight’ the blade so it drops in and finds its own level.

Throw the blade away (To practice first try ‘throwing the blade away’ – in a double scull!.It will follow a bow-ward and curvilinear path. Now (in a single) try this slight throw-away action, with 1 blade while holding the blade lightly – like taking a touch on one side. So the hands rise slightly whilst releasing the pressure on the blade so it drops in and finds its own level.

The Catch – timing and connection

Roll ups (Sit at backstops with blade covered, release and roll-up to front-stops, immediate entry as you arrive (knees under armpits). Not possible without “light hands” – so the blade finds its own level. To build confidence do first at half-slide, then at three-quarter slide and finally at full slide .

Slo-mo catch-connect-drive (Now a further drill starting with a roll-up and then continuous paddling allowing the blade to drift momentarily LOW RATE PADDLING WITH SLOW MOTION CATCH-CONNECT-DRIVE MOVING TO DOING THIS AT REAL TIME SPEED. DROP and HIT – before blade bobs up)

Backing down into Catch (Finally a great drill for feeling how you need to connect to the water. From backstops sit with blades square in the water, push all the way into front-stops. You will feel ‘pulled off your feet’, relax, and let the handles come into your fingers, then gently push off the foot-stretcher, take the whole stroke, keep blades in water and push again. To build confidence start by only going forward to half slide initially then gradually extend)


Rowing Catch Timing by Nick Garratt (just 43 seconds showing forward and backward splash)

A splash analysis of the rowing catch – what it looks like (just 1.30 and shows early, clean, and missed catch)

Sculling AVI – Nick Garratt ( 4 mins, nice slow motion action of Aussie stroke Dan Noonan, showing the timing of the Catch, plus more, use of the hands for example)