One of the secrets of great rowing is having your core truly solid during the Drive. Of course, your core is made up of your abs, and your glutes (butt), and all the little muscles connected to those two. So when you’re making your catch at the beginning of the drive, where your oars are pushing through the air on the way to being dropped in, you flex your spine and your core. As you move through it, they tighten up, and become a solid block, being pushed by your legs over the rails to the very end of the length of your feet. That means you’re pushing a solid mass, which are pulling the oars, via connection with the upper body and the arms and hands. The body is in the process of going at the same time, forward, to mid, to backward position.
The next technique is especially important in bad water caused by wind and wakes, etc. This happens where your arms are extended on both sides, right near the catch, where your blades go in the water. So, you wait until the very last minute to turn your oars over, let the blades go in, and only then, pull to start the drive. What this does is keeps your oars flat all the way out to the catch, so that very little of the oar is available to get caught by the water, a wave, or wind.