Coxing Rowing Technique

Top 20 Terms Coxswains Should Know: Pin

Previously: Rush(ing) || Body angle || Pick drill || Suspension || Skying the blade || Quarter feather

What part of the stroke/stroke cycle does it refer to

This week’s term is one of two that aren’t specifically part of the rowing stroke – it’s actually part of the rigging. In relation to the stroke though, the first half of it (push + hang) occurs in front of the pin and the second half (the draw through) occurs behind the pin.

What does it mean/refer to

In physics terms, the pin is the fulcrum for the oar, which is the lever. It’s hidden when the oarlock is on so you can’t see it but it’s the vertical axle that the oarlock rotates around and is also where pressure is applied throughout the stroke. In order for the stroke to be effective, lateral pressure must be applied against the pin in the direction that the blade is moving (not the legs).

Relevant calls

“Maintain pressure against the pin…”, “hold your weight against the pin…”

“Rotate around the pin…” This is mostly in relation to achieving the proper length and body angle. Reminding the rowers to reach out over the knees and rotate the torso around the pin (while leaning into the rigger) helps emphasize keeping the chest up and not dropping the outside shoulder.

What to look for

The pin is one potential spot of connection in the boat so if you lose connection there then you lose efficiency in your stroke. More so with novices than with experienced crews, you’ll want to keep an eye on the oars to ensure they’re flush with the oarlocks at all points during the stroke (see the first link down below).

You can also draw attention to the pin during drills like the pair add-in drill where the shell is gradually getting lighter and picking up speed as each pair comes in. The load is going to be a lot heavier when there’s two people moving the shell vs. eight people so keeping pressure against the pin while cleanly accelerating the blade through the water should be the focus of your technical calls.

Effect(s) on the boat

In a rigging sense the pin plays a big part in determining the pitch, spread, span, oarlock height, and work through (all discussed in the intro to rigging posts linked down below). As far as the actual stroke goes, the key thing to remember is that pressure against the pin + acceleration is what allows rowers to effectively move the load.

Related posts/questions

I have noticed sometimes when coxing that some of my rowers tend to sort of bang the gate with their oar (not sure how to fully describe it) and was wondering what are they doing wrong in the stroke and appropriate calls to fix it?

Introduction to rigging

Hey Kayleigh, I was hoping you could lend some advice on spacers, the correct positioning of your body in relation to the pin, and how to change these things either before you are out on the water or while you are out on the water. I was told that when in doubt to take a spacer off… is that the rule of thumb? It is different due to the type/make of the boat? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

To see all the posts in this series, check out the “top 20 terms” tag.

Image via // @jdcsss

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