National University of Ireland Galway rowers on RP

We got this tweet from Dave Mannion of his crews at NUIG training for the Ireland national rowing championships.  Seems they did pretty well too. Dave Mannion, Head Coach writes about their experience.

NUIG rowers using RP and peak force indicator to sync drive.
NUIG rowers using RP and peak force indicator to sync drive.

I have been the head coach of NUIG rowing club for the past 3 seasons, and prior to that I was the lead men’s coach for the club. I am also a member of Rowing Ireland’s High Performance coaching team. Last season I worked with the U23 W4- that finished 4th and this year I am working with a women’s development 4-for the worlds in Amsterdam.

I started using the RP as an athlete. My first experience on the machine was at the Lucerne world cup in 2002. I was racing a lightweight pair and our coach arranged for our group to get a session on the machine with machines creator, Cas Rekers, providing a demonstration and coaching.

From then I was hooked. My club purchased two machines and the software and then two quickly became 8. Our crews used the machines between 2003 and 2005, and went on to become national champions many times over, Henley medallists in 2003 and 2005, U23 and world student games medallists.

The machines fell out of favour between 2007 and 2011 as the members of the training group opted to spend more time (and money!!) on sculling.

Refurbish and repair RP was easy

In the winter of 2012, Chris George came to Ireland to offer a repair and renovation service for old Rowperfect Classic machines. So I gathered

NUIG Rowing club RP
NIUG rowing club RP array

together all of our old machines and Chris went about the unenviable task of refurbishing them. One of the reasons the machines fell out of favour was the perception that they were difficult to repair. After watching Chris in action I was surprised at how straightforward the process was. So now the maintenance of the machines is not at all as daunting as I had once assumed! The club also invested in new sensors and software so by November 2012 the machines were ready to rock.

There was a little reluctance with the athletes in the beginning in moving away from the trusted C2, but after a few sessions, they could see the benefits of the Rowperfect machine. Now both machines are used happily together.

How I coach using RP

From a coaching point of view, the Rowperfect is a fantastic machine as it helps to develop the idea and feel of pushing. I am a big believer in getting locked on at the front end and pushing the boat away, and the Rowperfect can help to recreate that feel on land. I find the machine is also very useful for creating a sense of hang through the drive. When you add in the RP3W software package, the feedback and potential for improvement increases 100 fold.

NUIG Winners with RP
NUIG womens 4 winning at Ireland Champs

I have used the software to help

  • increase stroke length,
  • improve drive sequence timing,
  • reduce inefficiencies around the front turn
  • improve coordination.

One of my favourite points of the software is that it can facilitate the athletes to learn for themselves. They get instant feedback from their force curve when they make a change to their stroke. They can see how the stroke length increases when they improve their drive sequence.

There is a large degree of transfer from the RP to the water. I have seen athletes becoming more connected through the drive, longer arcs and better drive coordination. Over all I think the Rowperfect is a fantastic machine and I highly recommend its use.

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