Robin Williams |

Length, power and rate

Coach consultant Robin Williams explores the impact that length has on the rest of your stroke, suggesting tips and drills to help you perfect your technique

A crew which can generate more length, more power and more strokes per minute than the opposition, should win the race, at least in theory. But there’s more to it than that because this bald statement assumes some things which in reality may not hold true.

For instance, can you have too much length? Yes, you can. Can you apply power incorrectly? Yes, of course; and can too much rate be a bad thing? Once again, yes it can, especially if it sacrifices rhythm. This month I want to look in particular at length and power and the question of rate will get attention as a result.


Length is obviously important. You don’t win many races with short strokes, so start by having an overall target in mind. What does “long” mean to your crew? Then you’ve got to see if you can handle the length; in other words, apply your power to that arc taking into account your height, power, flexibility etc. If you try to row too long, it will be impossible to generate power well.


Free to all
British Rowing Members

Unlimited access to the latest articles, features and advice.

Log in with your existing British Rowing membership account details, or sign up to a membership today from less than £3/month.

Log In Sign up today