Read below how I changed my rowing technique with feedback from our RowP App and sensors on my oar. Would you also like to improve your rowing? Download our RowP App, you get lots of useful feedback for free even without connecting oar or seat sensors to it. By the way, we're enabling Facebook login for easier sign in.
It's been a year and a half since I started rowing the traditional Finnish wooden boats. There are many differences to the more widely known Olympic boats. The first impression when taking the first ever strokes in the wooden boat was that it felt gentle. The wooden material of the boat and the oars feels soft to the hand and the considerably smaller oar blades makes the rowing require less power. But the races are tens of kilometers. Endurance is needed when rowing for hours and the blades are big enough for sure.
Can you change your rowing stroke?
That's the question I had in mind after we first measured the differences in the rowing technique between myself and my rowing partner in the wooden double boat. There were many big differences. His strokes were longer and the flight path was flat and oblong without any strange bumps up nor down. I was a novice in this type of boat and wasn't familiar with the strange cross-over range of motion that you need to do with your left and right hand in a wooden boat. No wonder there were some flaws in how my blade was moving. My left oar was shooting too high up during finish, the stroke was too short and fat. The flight path looked like a potato with dimple, when a cucumber is what you need.
The flightpath comparison measured with early RowP SW of our double crew was published in the Sulkava race report last year. Since then our software has improved and matured so I cannot directly compare to the old measurement but just for reference here is a measurement from yesterday of a double crew rowing together for the first time where one of the rowers is rowing with the opposite hand on top, explaining partly the huge differences in flight path (the red rower is digging the blade too deep and is not making long enough strokes, in a crew the blade flight paths should align better in order to row the boat efficiently):
When working on your technique, repetition is necessary, and real time feedback is key and with the help of looking at the flight path and the total angle each stroke I was able to bring my technique closer to that of my rowing partner. We measured the flight path of the left oars of my partner (green) and myself (blue) again last week and the below shows the very pleasing result:
The answer is a clear yes. You can change your rowing stroke. It is possible for a crew to synchronize their technique so that they move in unison. With real time feedback improving technique becomes easier and faster.
Come meet us
The Quiske crew is selling RowP sensors and ProW seats on Friday before we're racing on Saturday. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sulkava Race we're also giving 10% off in our online store, use the code SULKAVA50 at checkout.
If you're rowing at Sulkava come chat with us and ask us absolutely anything about measuring rowing performance, we love to talk about that.
On a side note, the weather forecast for Saturday looks challenging. In windy conditions good technique becomes less important and instead experience to deal with different types of challenging conditions becomes key: all crews should make sure they know how to remove excess water from the boat and to dress appropriately so as not to catch a cold! Good luck to all rowers taking on the 58km challenge!