How to use video with your sculling crews – Part 4

Read Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Raf Wyatt’s series on how to use video with rowing and sculling crews.

Take two scullers….

Or better still, take two videos of two scullers and now let’s talk about the camera technique

Take 1

Take 2

Which video do you find more useful for coaching and stroke analysis purposes?

I get more information about the sculler in “Take 2” because:

  • I can see him. He fills the screen; he’s wearing light-coloured clothing; the sun is behind the cameraman
  • I can compare one stroke with the next.  The camera stays square off the pin and doesn’t change angle; it also keeps its distance constant
  • There are stripes. He has stripes on his rowing suit – look how easy it is to see his body angles or the height of his hands; there are stripes on his boat – see what effect he has on the boat.  There could be more stripes: what about something to measure stroke length – a vertical stripe on the side of the boat to show where the blade goes in? comes out? Or how about something on the shaft of the sculls to show how deep the blade goes? Or what about the bio-mechanist’s dots on the body if you want to compare relative speeds of, say, shoulders and seat?
  • I have time. The slow motion is a great trick, a good way of getting more information from 4 strokes than you would from a further 10 in real time.  OK, I would have liked to have seen some stuff in real time as well but this means I catch the detail.
  • There are no distractions.  His is the only boat; there are no waves or wash – nothing to interrupt his rowing.

Anything else? Missing from Take 2 are the shots that include the whole boat, the ones that let you see how the boat is running and whether the rower is in time with the boat – the camera could have been a little further away.

And how would I compare these two scullers?

Oh, just look at the differences in the hands: the way they grip the handle, the way they turn the blades.

Or the differences in core strength shown in the finish positions – don’t you just love those stripes now?

And to make the good better?

Such presumption in dealing with an Olympic sculler but what about the way those blades are drifting out of the water towards the finish of the stroke – could they stay in for longer or could he finish a little before his body to make the finish stronger and the exit cleaner?

What do you ‘see’ in these two videos?

As a coach (or as an athlete) what would you suggest they practice in the next outing?  What have I overlooked?

Raf Wyatt is a consulting rowing coach and has worked in New Zealand, Holland, UK and Switzerland. Working with Rowperfect UK she provides advice by Skype and email for club rowing coaches on how to improve their own coaching skills, training programmes and technique.

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