Last week we attended our first ever FISA coaches conference in London. The conference themes included using technology to make the boat go faster so of course we had to be there exhibiting our RowP product. Read below for a report from the conference and from BRIC, which we couldn't miss while we were there anyway.
Lineup of RP3s
We arrived in London the night before the conference to set up our product demo. We were surprised to find so many RP3s used by the exhibitors (5 machines) and happy that we could borrow one for our own demos by the UK RP3 dealer Paul Doleman.
Since the hotel gym was closed we were very pleased that we could also use the excellent machines for workouts during the early mornings. This was especially useful to stay fit (and keep the weight down...) for BRIC that took place the day after the conference.
The Quiske RowP demo
Our demo consisted of showing how our newest release of our RowP App can measure rowing rhythm on the RP3.
We also showed how our system can analyze rowing technique and provide instant feedback not only indoors but also and foremost on water. The web portal is useful for overlaying the data from different rowers, to help the coach synchronize the technique of the crew. Our easy to attach pods can measure and show differences in both oar and seat movement and timing.
Coaches conference highlights
The coaches conference was great for selling our rowing technique products to new customers and for networking and getting to know coaches from around the world. However, there was also a good programme with many good speakers lined up. We were busy at our demo stall but tried to listen to as many of the presentations as we could.
The first presentation was by Roger Barrow, the National Coach of South Africa. His inspirational talk emphasized training together as a team, never missing training (by staying healthy) and by surrounding yourself with people that are on the same mission as you.
Technology presentations: too much focus on power
The session on using technology to make the boat go faster included presentations from Valery Kleshnev, Nielsen Kellerman, and Weba Sport. Also measurements by Peach Innovations were presented by Conny Draper.
It is always interesting to listen in on presentations on rowing technology but this time we felt there was too much emphasis on measuring power. During the breaks we agreed with many coaches about the importance of the recovery part of the drive and how it tends to get overlooked by technologies focusing on power only. Power is of course important but many races are won by having a crew that know how to make the boat move efficiently also during the recovery.
It was useful to get to know and to discuss with people from other companies that offer products for measuring rowing technique and there might be good future collaboration with some of the rowing technology experts we met at the conference.
Where are the female coaches?
Another theme of the conference was about encouraging women into coaching. Unfortunately we missed this session as we had customers at our demo booth during the presentation. We do agree that there is a lack of women amongst the rowing coaches.
Visiting the most successful sports club
The conference included nice dinners every evening but one evening we managed to sneak out to have dinner at the legendary Leander rowing club. It was time away from the conference but did not want to miss the chance to enjoy the atmosphere of a club that has produced so many rowing heroes (Leander has 124 Olympic and 3 Paralympics medals to its name). I love the rich rowing culture in England.
The World Rowing Awards Dinner
The conference culminated with the awards dinner which was a final great networking opportunity. We made plans on working together with rowing professionals from around the world. Especially we enjoyed brainstorming how Virtual Reality can improve the indoor rowing experience together with Rodrigo Savage from InteroVR.
The best rowing crews were announced at the dinner at it was great to get to eat together with the most celebrated rowers and the coach of the year. FISA turned 125 years and we very much enjoyed the celebratory atmosphere although we didn't dance to the morning hours due to having an early morning to get to BRIC the next day.
Excitement at the BRIC2017
We could not miss the British indoor rowing championships while we were already in London and signed up to compete. This year the event was bigger than ever with 2100 rowers and even the spectator tickets selling out, in spite of Euro Open in Amsterdam, and Euro Slide Open in Copenhagen happening at the same time.
The most anticipated race was the Open Men 2000m where famous cyclist and Olympic winner Bradley Wiggins was debuting. The race ended with disappointment for Bradley and GB Rowing with Adam Neil (05:48.2), Tom Jeffery (05:53), and Matthew Rossiter (05:53.3) took the top three spots.
Our own Pentti Soini took home the gold medal in his category for the second year in a row and was marketing his ProW seat by waving it in the air. Some big guys at BRIC were racing on folded towels, for sure a professional seat could provide better support.
I had a worse day on the Concept2 myself. Indoor rowing requires determination and decisiveness that I lacked on Saturday, but I still managed to finish the race. After a subpar 2km there was energy left for the new Crossfit challenge by Cameron Nichol at RowingWOD: The 4min AMRAP consisted of 200m row, 15 airsquats and 10 burpees, as many as you can do within 4 minutes. The challenge was a lot of fun and I hope these kind of AMRAPs could be introduced to indoor rowing races in Finland too. The happy team (pic by RowingWod):
Have a good week!