There are a lot of technique articles that advocate using leg drive to initiate the stroke.To my mind this seems to be a largely ineffective use of a very large muscle group whilst resulting in higher heart rates and increased discomfort. i have experimented by driving with the legs and keeping the arms locked to see how much the oar has moved and it is very little. surely there is just too much friction between the seat and the rowers backside.To return the rower to the original starting position would also require a substantial amount of energy . Any thoughts would be welcome.
There are quite a few misconceptions which have been transferred by experienced sliding seat rowers to the skiff rowing stroke. Clearly leg power is a major factor in sliding seat rowing but as you note, it doesn't operate in the same way in the skiff. It is however important to have a continuous transfer of muscle power from a strong base in the feet and legs through to the upper body during the skiff stroke. If you are fully powered up you may find that you may be lifting your bum off the seat during the stroke. At the other extreme, try rowing with your feet lifted off or lightly touching the footrest and you will find that it's mainly your arms which are doing the work. (PS If you check out Australian surfboat rowing on Youtube, you will see that the surfboats have got wide seats and the rowers wear skimpy costumes so that they can lubricate their buttocks to get a sliding stroke...is this the way forward for skiffies?)