Following my appeal for reviewers for the new DVD by Paul Thompson, Karthick Tadinada of Christs College Boat Club and Cantabrigian Boat Club, volunteered.
Here is what he has said (and posted) on the DVD
Having received a review copy of Paul Thomson's new DVD, I thought I'd share my views with the group. Although a long-time lurker on this group, this is my first post so go easy!
First of all I'll lay out what I think the purpose of rowing video is, and then describe the DVD and my opinions of its contents.
I believe that the primary purpose of rowing video is instructional.
When produced correctly, video has the ability to break down a complex looking motion into a series of steps and can clearly show the timing in the sequence of the various actions. Video is very helpful in providing a mental picture of a 'correct' rowing stroke, so that technical aims in training are clear.
FISA does their world championship and olympic regatta DVD, but most people would appreciate the chance to see international athletes in training at low rates.
Paul Thomson's DVD is indeed marketed as a "..unique opportunity to see the techniques of Britain's best rowers in training..". The sweep rowing demonstrations are by the mens lightweight coxless 4 (LM4-) , and the sculling demonstrations are by the womens quad (W4x). It is broken down into 3 main sections: Technique, rowing & sculling exercises, and land training. There are also several interviews with both athletes (Triggs-Hodge, Vernon, Grainger, Flood, Hunter, Purchase) and support staff (nutritionist, strength and conditioning coach, physiologist) strewn about the DVD.
I played the video straight through and got off to a very inauspicious start. It seems to me that the first section on technique consisted of some training video and someone reading from a script with minimal effort made to connect the two. It is pretty clear that the voice-over is being read from a script thanks to some pauses in phrases (like boat….. speed). I had hoped that the video would consist of some slow motion or pauses or repeated clips. The only plus is that there is about 25 minutes of footage of good rowing and sculling.
Next came the bits on rowing exercises. Things started getting much better at this point, as the audio started to become relevant. Most importantly, the purpose of every exercise is described as well as things to be mindful of. Watching a good crew perform the exercises well is also very impressive (the inside arms only of LM4- stood out for me).
However, for exercises that were the same in both rowing and sculling the voice-over was identical.
Where this video really shines is in the land training section. There is an extensive selection of weights exercises and core-stability training that is excellently demonstrated and explained. Zac Purchase demonstrates the power clean, seated row and the good morning exercise stood out with freakishly good form. The strength and conditioning coach was also excellent in his brief cameo.
The core stability and stretching sections, in my opinion, probably warrants the price of the DVD alone. A huge variety of exercises are demonstrated by Kath Grainger, with the coach right next to her providing relevant commentary as the exercises are being performed. Good form is clearly illustrated, and common mistakes are highlighted.
Pros: Excellent core-stability, stretching and weights training section
Cons: Poor attempt at explaining technique