We sent the Seat Racing ebook out to review with coaches, athletes and coxswains and here is a selection of their insights.
David Lindstrom, Former New Zealand Selector
Briefly I feel the Seat Racing articles are very informative and give a balanced opinion on how to select crews.
- From my experience with the NZ Junior selection program the following is preferred:
a standing start is preferred between two boats
- “Open rating” as it is closer to race conditions
- 1000m races/5 max per session- determines stronger athletes’ rowing fitness can be improved through training
- Coxswains “not to talk”. Puts onus back onto rowers to motivate other members of crew
If the selector/coach has an eye for placing athletes in the most appropriate seat then seat racing is a fantastic method in finding the fastest boat
Kind regards, David Lindstrom
The athlete’s perspective – Harry Richardson
The Coach’s perspective Matthew Newton
The book is a fantastic source of information for coaches and athletes a like, providing various ways seat racing can be incorporated into the selection processes. The importance of this process cannot be underestimated, and the book highlights the variables that should be taken into account and provides suggestions on how to run the seat racing, so it is as rigorous and useful as possible for coaches. The book correctly recognises that many coaches lack information on seat racing or simply don’t have the data on athletes which potentially prevents them from putting the fastest boat on the water. The book evaluates seat racing as an objective method to select crews and provides methods for carrying the races out in order to get an accurate and reliable set of data. The book highlights the factors for consideration when using seat racing and provides worked examples of real results and how and what the selectors were looking for as well as the importance method of conducting to ensure that all athletes have a fair opportunity. It also provides suggestions for dealing with the athlete realities, managing the variables and close racing. It highlights the importance of the athlete coach relationship and dynamics within a team of rowers. As a Level 3 rowing and swimming coach, I would recommend this book for new and experienced coaches to help them review their crew selection processes and look at the best way conduct process.
The Definitive Guide to Rowing Seat Racing – a review by David Yates, Rowing Australia selector 1989 – 2014
This eBook is a collection of opinions and advice by a range of American international, college and school rowing coaches. Seat racing for eights selection is very widely used in the United States, and all these authors have long experience with the method which they share. If you are involved in seat racing, either as a coach or an athlete, it is well worth reading. The methods, the “rules of engagement”, some of the limitations of the information obtained, and the importance of fitting the process to the particular situation are all covered. Chapters four and five provide advice for participating rowers on how to approach it and I particularly recommend all those subjected to seat racing to read them carefully.
However well seat racing is done, whether it produces fast crews is debatable and even Kris Korzeniowski’s justification for using it, as given in chapter one, relies on it being fast, simple and objective, not that it gives the best crews possible. Of course being finished quickly is often necessary, and being simple and objective is desirable even though it isn’t sufficient to ensure finding the fastest crew. In contrast, finding the fastest combination can be slow, complicated and sometimes leave the selectors open to allegations of bias. This debate is taken up in chapter six, where Frank Biller of the University of Virginia advances the case against seat racing, at least against extensive or sole use of seat racing. To emphasise this , in the final chapter Valery Keslev uses biomechanics to show an example of where seat race comparisons can be unfair, and the reader is left wondering why biomechanics measurements aren’t used more widely.