Thursday, March 29, 2007

Boat Testing: Part 3

This is the second time we have come down to Geelong to test boats this season. Today we are trying the New Zealand, Kirs pair and also have our Sykes boat to do some further work with it. We will use the identical protocol to what we used last time. It will include three tests that involve max speed, rate steps and paddling. This we know gives us a broad variety of samples that can be analysed.

The weather here today is a bit windy which does make things a little more challenging. In part we aren’t doing a direct comparison, but what we are looking for is how efficient the boats are. Due to the device we use on the boat that records all the information about speed and acceleration we are able to gather very useful information. So even in various conditions we can look at and understand the efficiency of the hull. Now what this does not take into account is our output, but we do take heart rate and lactate measurements to ensure that the influence our efforts are understood.

It’s a bit of a slow start to the day because we have had to rig the boat up with a new set of riggers. Our coach is having a tough time getting some of the measurements we need with gate height etc. As a good little athlete I am over sitting in the car staying out of the way. Rigging can become a pressure situation, particularly when I ask a lot of questions. Better I sat here and amuse myself rather than frustrate my coach.

Some thing I will mention now about some conversation we have had about testing and it revolves around the need to find equipment that suits the athletes rowing style. Our subjective view so far and probably of the years is that different styles of rowing would suit different boats. In saying that then this testing is more about find the equipment that best suits the style of rowing that we use and plan on improving.

In brief our style that we focus on is length and rhythm. I know many coaches and athlete also have this as their aim, but we all interpret thing differently and more important is what actually happens at speed. So to ensure we are translating our intent into action we have also been gathering video footage to compare and analyse also and currently we are happy with our consistent length and as for the rhythm we are working on how to improve it further. This is really about drive and recovery ratio and the flow and acceleration. The turns become so important in creating rhythm and are for us key areas that need improving I think.

Obvious this is an update on boat testing and a little information on what we are currently working on too. The next boat testing update will most likely include the final analysis and conclusion for the phase as we most certainly will want to settle on what will work best for use this season.

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