Reflections from a Rower


Rowing is sort of a sleeper sport. It is not one of the more widely promoted sports, yet it is one of the most challenging sports you’ll ever encounter. You have to engage in it to fully appreciate it, yet, once you do, you’ll love it. Rowing is one sport that always leaves you wanting more.

Rowing builds mind, body and spirit. It provides for a great physical low impact workout yet works major muscle groups. It is technical, so it requires concentration and practice to master correct rowing technique; you’ll never be bored. As much as your body and mind will be working hard, you’ll equally find tranquility, as the boat silently glides thru the quiet water, propelled by your efforts, with the mountains as a backdrop.


Rowing is diversified. It can be solitary or social. It can be recreational or competitive. It is for teens as well as seniors. There is group sweep rowing (two hands, one oar) and sculling (two hands, two oars). You can row in a 4- or 8-man sweep boat. There are single, double and quad sculls.


Rowing is accessible on land. For those who don’t have the time to row on the water, don’t have access to the various rowing boats, or just want a good workout, welcome to the rowing machine, aka erg.

Although the erg does not stimulate all parts of the rowing stroke, it will build endurance and strength, while helping with rowing sequence. The erg is a great introduction to rowing.


Now, here is some instruction to get Doni and Kelly started on their proper rowing technique on the erg so that we can see them both out on the water with us someday:

Start at the top of the slide with legs bent at a 90-degree angle, leaning slightly forward, hands loose on the handle. Begin the stroke by pushing back with the legs, without pulling on the handle. As you drive back, tension will build in your hands on the handle, as it does, pull the handle toward your body. As the legs straighten, finish the stroke by pulling the handle into your body. To return, let the hands fall out in front of you, back slightly leaning forward following. As the handles passes your knees, then start up the slide, bending knees, until you are back at the catch position. Control yourself going up the slide. The chain that connects the handle to the machine should always be level. If you see it rise and dip, then you are moving your hands up and down, which means there are errors in your stroke.

And a competitive rower never wants to see any errors in the stroke!


Come join the sport of rowing and check out all we have to offer! And if you just want to join us out on the water, a good coxswain is always welcome!

The Redding YMCA Rowing Club is currently offering classes in both sweep rowing and sculling. Enjoy a great time out at Whiskeytown Lake while learning the techniques of rowing! For more information, call the Y at 246-9622 or email rowredding@sfymca.org.

Sheri Richmond is a rowing enthusiast who serves as the YMCA’s Membership Services Coordinator. Sheri works closely with the Redding YMCA Rowing Club and has participated in┬áseven regattas over the last several years.

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