“The Sport of Rowing” on World Rowing

28 December 2020

By Peter Mallory

Peter Mallory has a fine belated Christmas present for everyone. It is to be found on World Rowing’s revised website after New Year’s.

I am very pleased to announce that as of 1 January 2021 the newly-revised World Rowing website will make universally available my masterwork, The Sport of Rowing (TSOR), which has been unavailable since its publication nearly a decade ago.

This four-volume set of books asks three questions:

  • What are the technique and force application strategies being applied today in our sport at its highest levels?
  • Where did these strategies come from in rowing history?
  • How well do they do in actual competition?

For many of my readers, the “where did they come from” is certainly the most entertaining. Our rowing ancestors and their adventures, their triumphs and their failures, often fall into the “couldn’t make this stuff up” category. We certainly stand of the shoulders of a remarkable and often motley crew, and it has been my privilege to help preserve and spread the memory of their glorious deeds.

But I suggest that new readers of TSOR on worldrowing.com also pay attention to the other two questions.

For two hundred years, the truly great coaches have seldom spent much time explaining how they intended their athletes to move boats, but many of their explanations have been preserved, and I have gathered them in the coaches’ own words! I have also analyzed through stop-motion photography and force curve analysis the actual rowing of the boats they produced.

Then there is the question of what actually works. International competition provides the ultimate real-world test of the various strategies. Again, what the visual historical documentary record reveals will surprise, even astonish, most of you. It completely contradicts much of what has been written in recent decades, and the chances are very good that it will seriously challenge all your assumptions of what good rowing has always been.

After decades of pondering the mysteries of our sport, years ago I came up with what works for me as the ideal approach to rowing and sculling, and I was pleased to discover through my subsequent research that the most successful coaches over our two hundred years of history had come to the very same conclusion, over and over, but you will not find my opinions expressed in TSOR, only the words of our ancestors and the data you will need to independently make up your own minds if you so choose. I urge you to do so.

At the 2011 Rowing History Forum, Peter Mallory (left) and Chris Dodd took a look at the four-volume “The Sport of Rowing”, which was written by Peter. The book was published by the River and Rowing Museum that year.

Back in 2011, The Sport of Rowing sold out before a single set was printed. To discourage piracy and preserve the exclusivity of the original very limited subscriber run, you will be prevented from downloading the four volumes from worldrowing.com. However, I recognize my obligation to my new readers, so if you have a serious need, please contact me directly at peterdavismallory@gmail.com. I will make every effort to support your efforts on an individual basis. I look forward to hearing from you.

One comment

  1. Hello Peter, Have thoroughly enjoyed the 2011 edition of TSOR. Good luck with the revised version for 2021.

    NYAC Sculling Bum,
    H. Sandy Killen

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