Breathing in the Dark

Oyster Bay after sunset

Last night out on the Bay, as darkness fell, I truly enjoyed the experience of sculling back to the beach. I could feel the shell moving well in the water. I felt relaxed as each stroke connected to the next.

It’s now the end of September and we are normally off the water in early November, so I am taking time to enjoy each day on the water. Winter and training indoors is just around the corner, but for now I need to stay in the moment.

My focus was on revisiting a sculling drill from Jim Joy, the 6-inch pause drill. The objective of this drill is to get the speed into and away from the body uniform. The handles come in and go away from you at the same speed. There is a brief pause as the handles are just 6 inches away. Note, the arms are not fully extended, just 6 inches away. This can be practiced on land as you sit in a chair looking at your hands. The smoother we are around the release, the better. Watch the video below to see the drill in action.

I find the 6-inch pause to be a great spot to pause because it allows me to focus on the handles in, handles out at the same speed. It is also the point where my hands begin to tuck one behind the other for the recovery. This drill leads to better boat feel and flow.

So, as September draws to a close, I look forward to spending more time out on the Bay during October. The next step is focusing on the recovery as a whole movement.

By Mike Wagner

Mike began rowing in 1992 during his freshman year at Hofstra University. He learned to scull the following summer at the Sagamore Rowing Association. Mike worked with the Joy of Sculling as the Program Manager for the Coaching Conferences from 2013-2019. He continues to actively scull and coach both at Sagamore and at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center in Vermont.

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