[title size=”2″]Synchronizing Crews[/title]
For synchronizing crews, the ROWPERFECT3 (RP3) rowing simulator is as effective as a Flight Simulator is for airline pilots. Like in the flight simulator the airline pilot can be trained in the very complex art of handling an aircraft without the risk of crashing, the boat simulator enables the rower to learn the very complicated pattern of coordination of movements and timing, essential for good rowing, not hindered by wind, waves and water, and not disturbing his fellow crew members. It goes without saying that this is only true if the equipment which is used, truly simulates what happens in the boat in reality. The ROWPERFECT3 (RP3) rowing simulator does exactly this.
The main problem for the crew and their coach is that in the boat all of the problems occur at the same time, and that the crew have to divide their time between coordination, timing , balancing and handling the oar. On the rowing simulator the coordination and timing can be handled as separate entities, enabling the crew members to concentrate on one issue at a time, making the learning process more efficient.
The process of synchronizing of a crew can be divided into a number of phases:
Teach the crew to all make the same stroke
Teach the crew to all do it at the same time
Acquire proficiency in handling the oar
The boat simulator can play an important role in the first two phases of this process.
In the first phase the coach has to decide which type of stroke the crew is going to row. Depending upon the time that is available, the coach can decide to use either one of the following methods:
First determine the optimal stroke profile, as described in the previous chapter, and, once this is established, subsequently train the rowers to make that profile
Determine the average stroke profile which the crew makes, and have all the rowers copy the average.
The first method can be used when sufficient time is available, generally at the beginning of the training season. This will eventually teach the rowers to row at their highest efficiency.
The second method could preferably be used for making combination crews in the season that have to be homogenized as rapidly as possible. With this method the individual adaptation required is minimal; efficiency may be sub-maximal.
Training on the same stroke profile initially is most efficiently done during extensive endurance training, later to be extended to intensive endurance training and interval training.
The effect of such a training on crew homogeneity is shown in the graphs below:
In these graphs the development of the stroke profiles of a ladies novice four is shown. In their first year this crew had been very unsuccessful . At the beginning of the winter training in October of their second rowing year, the force length curves of the four crew members are highly different. After 5 months, although different in strength, the stroke profiles have become highly homogeneous. At the first long distance race in the season it was shown that the crew had become the fastest in their category by far. Graphs 14 an 15 show comparable results of a novice men’s crew.
Similar results have been obtained over the last 5 years with the crews of Cambridge University Boat Club and with the Australian Lightweight coxless four.
Initially, training on a given stroke profile is done on an individual basis, to enable the rower to fully concentrate on the smooth coordination of movement. In a second phase when the required profile is being mastered, the dimension of inter-individual timing can be added to the training. As a unique feature of the ROWPERFECT3 (RP3) boat simulator, the moving slides of two (or more) units can mechanically be coupled to truly simulate the dynamics of crew boats. This gives the coaches and the rowers unprecedented possibilities for synchronization of their crew during land training, not hindered by wind, current, waves, balance problems or problems of handling the oar.
Because the disturbing influence of these factors is totally absent, the crew can fully concentrate on coordination and timing. On the crew boat simulator, minor differences in coordination and timing between the crew members are much more clearly felt by the rowers than in the boat, greatly enhancing the synchronization process.
Good rowing provides immense satisfaction. Some aspects of it can be taught and learned more effectively on the ROWPERFECT3 (RP3) than in the boat. Similar to a racing shell, the ROWPERFECT3 (RP3) is very sensitive to a proper coordination of movements. Good technique is rewarded, poor technique is exposed and can be effectively dealt with at an early stage.