The Art of Putting Together a Crew

Report
Coaching Education Opportunities
The IRL at Community Rowing
What Works Summit: Feb 10-12 Boston, MA
IRL is accepting applications for the
Advanced Certificate in Rowing Leadership
Program for the 2012-2013 academic year.
More info:
https://www.communityrowing.org/commu
nity/irl/advancedcertificateprogram/
Joy of Sculling 2011
Ethan Curren
Director of Coaching Education
Head Coach, Junior Women
Community Rowing, Inc
The Art of Putting Together a Crew
“I’m not looking for the best players, I’m looking for the
right ones” Herb Brooks
Goal: Finding and preparing a crew to work together
with maximal efficiency.
Overview
Part One
1. Considerations based on athlete differences in size
and shape.
2. Considerations of rowing technique.
3. Selection procedures to find the right pieces.
Part Two
1. Rigging.
2. Training strategies to bring crew together.
3. Traps to avoid.
1. Athletes Size and Shape
Stroke Length, not height is important.
 All athletes must row the same length stroke or timing
will be off.
 The boat is moving the same distance .
 Slippage of blade is not a desirable variable.
Athlete’s Size and Shape Cont.
Physical Characteristics affecting Stroke length
 Length of limbs.
 Ratio of leg bones.
 Ratio of Torso to Legs.
 Shape and thickness of trunk.
Athletes size and shape…
 Drawings go here
Athlete’s Size and Shape Cont.
Beth K 5’9” and Cicely M 5’9”
Athlete’s Size and Shape Cont.
Athlete’s Size and Shape Cont.
 2x video
Rigging
Rigging Adjustments
 Lowering feet can help with longer shins and allow
greater compression.
 Stretcher angle can help with less flexible ankles to
achieve greater compression
 Raising height can allow greater length of pull.
 Oar Length/ Use of CLAM’s
Motion of the Center of Mass
 While Adjustments to the oar can allow a rower with
shorter inboard length to match length at the blade, it
is difficult for athletes to row well together when their
mass is travelling too great a difference over a stroke
cycle.
 May be an inherent inefficiency??? Can’t meet ideal
ratio if they aren’t at the same ratio.
 Very hard for a shorter slide to follow a longer slide as
the rower has to go slower.
Motion of Masses
Adjusting motion
 Length of Slide.
 Compromise to ideal compression
 More upright position w/ greater compression results in
great movement of mass.
 Less compression and more swing leads to less
movement of mass -- more efficient technique (see Fisa
Coach).
2. Considerations of Rowing Skill
Technical flaws that make
the rower less effective
Technical flaws that make
the boat less effective
Use of wrong muscles
Set:
Initiating with back (loss
of leg drive)
Body control
Handle heights
Release
Blade entry
Rushing the slide
Speed of transition to drive
Lack of body control at
transitions
Many many more….
Others? –Continuum
Consideration of rowing skill
All skills are situational
 Discipline (sculling vs sweep).
 Boat Class
 Rate/ Speed.
 Seat in Boat.
 Length of event (seat race).
Considerations of rowing skill
Importance of Transitions and drive speed.
 Speed of motion is trainable and therefore specific.
 Power = Force x Velocity (more later).
 All athletes need to match transition speed to be
optimally effective.
 A slower athlete will not be able to apply force effectively
– “chasing the drive.”
 A quicker athlete’s skills are somewhat wasted in a crew
of slower athletes (especially larger, slower athletes).
What’s at Stake?
What’s at Stake?
5 K splits 1 stroke
newtons
Stroke
2:03.4
118
3 seat
2:00.5
154
2 seat
2:05.3
106
Bow
1:59.7
94
Timing is key
Late to get on it= Chasing the drive
Never can make up for it
Look at the difference
Newtons
Newtons
5k pace
Beth
110
109
2:04.6
Rachel
118
97
1:59.5
Zoe
121
97
202.1
Drive Speed and Rate
One clear example of this principle is rowers who are
more or less comfortable at higher stroke rates.
This will affect how I do:
 Selection and seat racing!
 Training
 Drills
Rowing Skill cont.
A single less skilled athlete has a greater negative effect
on a crew than one more skilled rower can have on a
less skilled group.
 Mistakes make all others less effective.
 Added skills may have some positive long term effect
(blade work example), but can do little to help overall
boat speed.
 Putting a skilled rower with less skilled athletes may
lead to bad habits.
 Risk of injury (left alone on drive).
Selection
Foundation is Evaluation
 Power/Fitness
 Ability to apply on the water (Technique)
 Ability to row with others
Selection
Establish Timelines
 How much time to allow for athlete development and




skill acquisition.
How long will selection procedures take?
How much time to allow crew to come together.
Can you use early season racing?
Control your message about what lineups mean.
Selection
My Strategy:
 Identify prime movers, allow them to establish
dominant rhythm.
 Select for best complements.
 Know your most important goal.


YNC 4 x 2k over 3 days.
Club Nationals 10 x 2k over 5 days.
 Top boat or fast crews? What are team goals?
Selection
My Model
 Erg Evaluations
 Seat Racing
 Time Trials
Selection
Erg Evaluations
 Erg Opportunities: earn you a seat race.
 Not just 2k’s
 Power profile. Know their relative strengths over a range of
distances.
 Repeat sets (4 x 1250). How do they respond to multiple
pieces.

Fitness is distinct from power.
 Power = force x velocity (erg doesn’t tell you how)


Rate
Length
 Must use Weight Adjustment or factor

Magic Number (watts/KG^(2/3))
Selection
Seat Racing Limitations
 Boat class factors.
 Seat racing in smaller boats


Favors specific skills
Favors specific (slower) drive speed.
 Seat racing in big boats


Chaos.
Crews will perform to lowest common denominator of skill
(how deep is your team technically).
Seat Racing Limitations cont.
Format Factors
 Distance and repetitions will favor certain fitness
profile of athletes.
 Stroke rate.
 Coxed?
Seat Racing Limitations cont.
Inherent limitations
 Favor athletes who adjust quickly.
 Favors specific combinations/ comfort level.
 How does proximity effect performance? Know your
athletes!
 Cox’ns effect.
Selection
Seat Racing Strategies
 Variable Stroke rate (40-30-20-10).
 Variable format.
 Seat race strong but less fit athletes later in set.
 Control boat. Three or more crews. Watch for patterns
 Control pieces (first couple w/ no switches evaluate
variability).
 Never final selection – and they know it!
Time Trials and Line Up Evaluations
 Abilities are situational.
 I am selecting for seats.
 Athletes perform very differently in specific seats.
 Skill seats:







Seven seat– follow by feel, sound; steady.
Bow pair – Finishes, balance.
Six seat – rush, catch support.
“Chemistry”
4 piece format.
Evaluate using practices pieces (every day is a seat race).
Evaluate using early races.
Traps
Selecting too early
 Less skilled rowers with more talent may improve
forcing dilemma of late season switch.
 Time together favors selection.
 Motivation?
But…
Selecting too late
 Crew isn’t left with time to come together.
 Time to establish boat goals, values, behaviors.
Joy of Sculling 2011
Ethan Curren
Director of Coaching Education
Head Coach, Junior Women
Community Rowing, Inc
Rigging
Rigging Adjustments Feet and Seat
 Lowering feet or adding butt pad will help athletes
with longer shins to allow greater compression.
 Raising feet may shorten stroke, but allow for more
power from legs.
 Stretcher angle can help with less flexible ankles to
achieve greater compression
Rigging
 Raising height can allow greater length of pull.
 Oar Length/ Use of CLAM’s
 Adjusting leverage can help compensate for length
differences.
 Often rowers with shorter strokes also have more muscle
mass and can handle a bigger load. If they don’t, be
careful about loading.
 Longer limbed rowers are already dealing with a relative
mechanical disadvantage (shorter limbs work better in
weight room).
Motion of the Center of Mass
 While Adjustments to the oar can allow a rower with
shorter inboard length to match length at the blade, it
is difficult for athletes to row well together when their
mass is travelling too great a difference over a stroke
cycle.
 May be an inherent inefficiency??? Can’t meet ideal
ratio if they aren’t at the same ratio.
 Very hard for a shorter slide to follow a longer slide as
the rower has to go slower.
Training them to come together
Define your Style
Make sure they know it.
Attention (don’t distract).
Intention (Athlete should understand goal and why).
Motion of Masses
Adjusting motion
 Length of Slide.
 Compromise to ideal compression
 More upright position w/ greater compression results in
great movement of mass.
 Less compression and more swing leads to less
movement of mass -- more efficient technique (see Fisa
Coach).
Training them to come together
Establish a uniform recovery first
 Organizing point of the stroke
 Finish Pause?
 Bodies over?
 Set up and speed into the catch will determine drive.
Training them to come together
Direct attention to body spacing
 Distance of head, shoulders.
 If bodies move together, catch and finish timing can
be established quickly.
 If blade timing is established first, it can take a long
time (if ever) to change rhythm.
Training them to come together
On water drills.
 Pause Drill – define a gathering point
 beware timing to pause position
 be aware of body proportions.
Longer arms take longer to extend.
 Longer torso’s take longer to bodies over
 Are you allowing athletes to compensate for
differences?
 pause to oar angles?

Drills
Teach rowers to be adaptable and they
will be better at making adjustments
 Ratio Drill
 15 strokes each at ratio 5:1, 4:1, 3:1, 2:1, 1:1 all at 75%
pressure.
 Short strokes.
 Pick drill full boat.
 1/2 and 3/4 slide
Drills
 Speed work. Hones handle quickness.
 Builders
 Starts
Drills
Train them to sense the timing
Auditory Clues
 Tap Drill. Tap handle on gunnels at perpendicular.
 Slap. Flat blade strikes the water at the catch.
Boat feel
 Pulse drill. Half crew at pressure others paddling
and feeling then join in support.
Training them to come together
Erg Excercises
 Sliders.
 Erg together, watch handle speed.
 Tape handles.
 Match pairs facing.
 Look through more experienced athlete in mirror (Bill
Manning).
Taped handles
Training them to come together
Long Term Strategies
 Pairings.


Small boat partners
Seat race pairs.
 Core groups.



“Core four”
Race in smaller boats. (Winning pair history)
Manipulate ergs in winter.
 Develop expertise! Allows rower to be effective in more situations so
you can put your best athletes in the boat.




Small boats.
Switch Sides.
Sculling.
Quickness.
Traps
Rowers who look pretty
 What are you looking at? Do you know you
tendencies?
 Easier to see posture than blade work, particularly in
the water.
 Does it really matter?
Traps
Rowers who can’t sustain technique
 How do they hold up under fatigue?
 How do they hold up on race day?
 How do they respond to conditions?
Traps
The Rower who you just can’t wait until she gets it
 Will she ever?
 How does having her in the boat affect the quality
of practice?
 How does it effect morale?
 How does it effect the rower who’s out?
 What message does it send?
Traps
 The rower who just wants to make the boat.
 Your own foibles:
 “I can fix her!” reward performance, not potential.
 Need for control: let athletes take ownership, don’t
tinker too much as the competition approaches (unless
you need to).
Traps
Technique
 Timing the feather, not the release.
 Drills that don’t allow for athletes to adjust to each
other (careful when you use them).

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