Stroke Terms


  • Crab occurs when the rower fails to get the oar out of the water at the finish of the stroke.
  • Catch The part of the stroke when the blade is put in the water.  Commercial trains rowers to catch ‘last thing on the way forward, not first thing on the way back’.   This subtle philosophy helps visualize a fast and crisp “V-Spash Catch“.
  • Drive The part of the stroke between the catch and the finish; the propulsive part of a stroke.  If you ‘throw’ your body weight suspension-slide1correctly, you will transfer most of your bodyweight to the stretcher, suspending yourself from the handle, and almost lifting yourself off the seat: –


  • Feather To turn the blade parallel with the water surface at the start of the recovery to reduce wind resistance.
  • Finish (release) The part of the stroke just before the blade is taken out of the water.
  • Rate/Rating The rate of stroking, or the number of strokes per minute that a crew is rowing at.
  • Recovery The part of the stroke cycle between the finish and the catch in which the oar is feathered and the seat is returned to the aft end of the slide, or the oar is placed back into the catch position.  The boat wants to run; the rower should move forward gently so as to minimize speed reduction.
  • Release When the blade is taken out of the water.  Tip – it should still be squared during the ‘Tap Down’ at the finish.
  • Square Blade Where the blade is square in the swivel.  You’re wrist should be flat when the oar is squared (as it would be if you were hanging from a bar).
  • Stroke The complete cycle of moving the boat through the water using the oars.  The four phases of the bio-mechanical stoke are a) catch b) drive c) finish and d) recovery.