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Wrist Splints

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Stan Pocock Way Enough p. 71

Two of the frosh came into the shop one afternoon, each complaining that his feathering wrist hurt like hell and wondering what to do about it. Some years before, I had experienced the same problem – tendonitis. ..brought on by my bad sculling or by the wrist action of using a tack hammer. Perhaps splints to keep my wrists from flexing while leaving the palms and fingers free might be the answer…Within a week the soreness was gone, never to return. Race day was fast approaching and here were two of my best people liable to be unavailable. Annoyed, I told them that the only reason they were having this trouble was that they were rowing badly. I always tried to emphasize how little wrist action was needed when featering was done properly. They had been guilty of gripping their oars too tightly and working them with their wrists. …To put their minds at ease, I told them that…perhaps splints offered a solution..they agreed to give it a whirl. I made the splints and taped on on the back of each man’s feathering wrist [sweep rowing]. They tried rowing with them…and found that they worked. Within a few days, both men reported no more trouble. Even with the splint removed, one of them, Bill Cameron, now had the knack of executing perfect blade-work with absolutely no visible flexing of his wrists...(video excerpt of Stan’s hands sculling)

As weeks went by and the annual Cal race drew near…the wind refused to quit blowing. I began thinking about what we called the “scullers’ catch.” Because it is often misnamed the “flip catch” people are led into thinking that the rower has to flip the blade square as it enters the water. Actually it is the force of the water on the blade that does most of the work. Washington’s eight that won the 1936 Olympics in Berlin came as close to using this technique well as any collegiate crew I’ve seen.


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