Technical Benchmarking (How Do You Get Everyone On The Same Page?)

Why It Is Never A Good Idea To Put Too Much Weight On The Back Of Your Trailer
October 5, 2016
Book Review: Sculling In A Nutshell by Gordon Hamilton
October 8, 2016
Show all
Online rowing training programs coaching


Photo Courtesy Eric G. Sack Photography

This post is about setting technical standards throughout your program so that you can get everyone on the same page and achieve vertical alignment.

>> Download Rower Technical Benchmark File <<

For example, you might run a juniors program with a middle school program, a novice program, JV, and Varsity. Alternatively, you might have a masters program that breaks down into your learn to row group, novice, and various other experience levels. The question that I intend to provide an answer for is: How do you get all of the athletes in the program on the same page technically?

Ideally, you want your coaches and staff to be teaching the same principles as folks progress through your program. I think that consistency is important and also sends the message to the athletes and coxswains that the coaching staff is all on the same page. 

As a result, I have developed an example editable benchmarking system that can help provide a clear structure for technical goals as athletes develop. The system can help coaches that are new to the program see what your goals for the technique are and you can get that consistency of instruction. Additionally, find video footage of athletes rowing with the technique that you would like for your program and show this to your athletes and coaching staff. This post relates to the rowing technique of your program, however, the same idea can be applied to coxswains as they gain experience and earn spots to drive faster and more experienced boats. Here is a link to my post about coxswain benchmarking to help assess the development of your coxswains. 

The model I provide is a jumping off point, and when you download the Excel file (see link above and below), it can be edited and adjusted to fit your program. I would also suggest uploading the file for each athlete to a system such as Google Drive so that your staff and athletes can view the documents and update them as various benchmarks are reached. 

The Benchmarking system has various levels of achievement. Ideally, you would evaluate your rowers three times a year. For a 10-month season, you might select Fall, Winter, and Spring. When you evaluate your athletes in this way, you (but more importantly the athlete) can see the progress that they have made since the beginning of the season. The first part of the document is shown below. This section of the document refers to the recovery. The file that I provide a link to below has other sections as well. It is all editable for your use and adoption and serves as a framework for your needs.

The section below shows a segment of the file relating to the recovery. Other technical areas include the catch, drive, posture, blade work, grip, timing, and flexibility.

Legend: ( +✔) Achieving (✔) Progressing Well (+) Developing with assistance (Δ) Needs additional assistance or time
TECHNICAL GOALS Fall Winter Spring
Rower has correct recovery sequence (hands and body – then slide)      
Rower sits on the seat correctly (sitting off their pockets)      
Rower establishes forward body angle early in the recovery and weight shifts toward the feet      
Rower has appropriate slide control for rate      
Rower carries the blade level with the oarlock on the first part of the recovery and then hands lift toward the catch      

Another idea to supplement this, is to have an archive of video footage. You could film the athlete on the ergometer, tank and/or the boat (preferably on the water is best, but it doesn’t hurt to have all of these). I think that it is a basic human need to feel that you are making progress. This solution provides many positives in your program. 

To Summarize:

  • The document is editable so you can adapt and when things change your system can change.
  • All coaches and athletes are on the same page and are clear about their technical goals for a season.
  • Coaches can see if athletes are progressing. i.e. Is the training system working? Do we need to change the drills or are they working?
  • Athletes can chart their progress over time.
  • The system provides fuel for discussion with athletes and most importantly provides a feedback loop for your team and coaches.


>> Download Rower Technical Benchmark File <<


I’m certain that this system can be improved, but it’s a start. Questions or comments? Email me

Subscribe to the Rowing Coaching Email List

* indicates required
Email Format

Power Ten Development LLC will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms. To contact us please send an email to Our mailing address is: 7107 S. Yale Ave #455 Tulsa, OK 74136-6308

We use MailChimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to MailChimp for processing. Learn more about MailChimp's privacy practices here.

Online Remote Rowing Coach

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: