What inspired you to write this book? Was there a ‘problem’ you saw that needed fixing in indoor rowing?
We are all aware of the growing levels of participation in Indoor Rowing, both as a competitive sport and for general fitness. On the evidence of the numbers at local and national competitions, as well as the numbers of rowing machines in gyms and in the home, IR has many more participants than conventional rowing, We wanted to both meet a need, and to create a need for a wider understanding of the of the relationship between the user and the machine. We also wanted to influence the development of coaching in IR, away from the traditional ‘command’ model of conventional rowing, towards a participant focussed model in which the athletes can have an informed discussion with the coach about what works well for them, The aim was to write a book for both participants and coaches.
I know you are very knowledgeable and care a lot about technique, does that matter for indoor rowing?
Perhaps not as much as in conventional rowing. It used to be thought that elite rowers would dominate IR because of their superior technique – until non-rowers started winning both at the national and international level. However one only has to look in any fitness centre and see people using rowing machines in such a way that they could damage their backs – or with a little self-coaching, improve their performance – so to that extent, yes, technique is important.
What is the number 1 thing you’d like rowing coaches to change in HOW they teach indoor rowing?
I think the key word here is ‘teaching’ – an aspect to coaching rowing that is much neglected and/or misunderstood. We’d like them to see coaching as a partnership that adapts teaching technique as appropriate to the individual and the situation – and to make the experience both challenging and fun.
If a club coach is reading this article – why should she buy a copy of the book?
We believe that too many coaches coach in they style in which they were coached – and do not think, experiment and read contemporary articles about improving performance. In one sense this book is a ‘primer’ for ‘evidence-based coaching’. We hope that coaches reading the book will ‘weigh’ the evidence we provide, try things out and be more open to the emerging body of evidence from biomechanics, physiology, nutrition and psychology.