How to use video with your rowing crews – Part 2

Raf Wyatt continues her article series on how to use video as a coaching aide for rowing and sculling. Click here for Part 1

Do  you have perfectly flat training water?  The sky’s your limit!  If the purpose is a technical analysis of individuals I like to work through the crew, in a motorboat sitting at square-off, focusing on one person at a time and then panning out to show how they fit into the rest of the crew.

Step by Step Video Guide

Here is my step by step guide to taking expert video that will enable you to demonstrate to each crew member how their individual technique can be improved.

  1. I take 10 strokes of each of their hands on the handles, their body movements, their blades (tricky sometimes to follow the blade during the stroke so try 10 strokes focussed on the point of entry and another 10 of the exit; if your driver is good you can also get right over the blade and catch the water spilling round the blade).
  2. Then 10 strokes with the two people rowing in front and behind each athlete.
  3. Another 10 of the whole crew.
  4. Once I’ve gone through the people in the boat (remember the coxswain!) then I move onto the boat itself and focus on
    1. the bow ball,
    2. followed by the stern
    3. the puddles moving past.
  5. Some shots of the crew from directly behind the stern and then you can put the camera away.

10 is a nice round number for videoing strokes; I’ve found any fewer than 7 strokes and you haven’t got time in the analysis to point out what you did or didn’t like nor time for the athlete to adjust to what you’re seeing and see for themselves when you play it back to them.

That’s a long video, especially if you’re working with eights.  Whole crew movements are better done in shorter slices, still 10 strokes from any one viewing point but stay focussed on whatever you set out to change be it finishes or racing starts.

Advanced rowing video techniques

Where possible get direct comparisons:

  • 10 strokes doing square blade rowing, 10 strokes normal rowing at 18 rating, 10 strokes at race rating  – how do the blades come out of the water each time?
  • Or 10 dead lifts in the gym followed by 10 strokes on the water (turn the camera on its side to maximise the effect) – how are we applying the power?
  • Or 10 strokes from yesterday and 10 from today – have we changed?
  • Or with so many clips of the top athletes available free online try 10 strokes of Mahe Drysdale’s finish followed by 10 strokes of yours (it’s up to the cameraman to make sure that both pieces of footage are taken from the same angle) – what’s your back doing, your hands, your elbows?

These short pieces often make good starting points for the next session.

Please send me your questions about video by adding a comment below this post and I’ll try to answer them.

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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