Well what is our future!

Big data is on its way into rowing, and it will be here to stay. Making sure we collect data that improves wellbeing and performance. Collecting data is time consuming, and we all know that rowing coaches have little enough time as it is.

With all the talk of Big Data we, in rowing, need to make sure we solve two problems.

1st - Nobody likes writing the data down!!

2nd - We need to visualised the data in such a way that it intuitively makes sense! That it helps us make decisions that improves performance.

I have had a look at what may be the sport changing technologies in 2017. It is ironic that our sport will progress into such a high tech era as we roll into the Tokyo Olympics in 2020

What sources of data do we have access to in rowing, and who will be the winners and losers.

GPS – How far have you really rowed? How much time did you spend sitting around during the outing with your coach just talking at you….? What speed did you row at when the stroke rate went up? How else do you want to use your GPS data?

Speed Coach GPS


Crew Nerd

ERGO TRAINING – We have always watched every stroke during a training session, but we have never recorded it. That seems a bit silly. So in the same way that on the water we can get a GPS trace of your session with the heart rate, stroke rate and speed, on the ergo we will be able to get the same level of granularity. These bits of data to build up a full picture if what you have actually done.

Concept 2  – Ergdata app

Rowperfect – RP3 Rowing

Float – Float app

ProRow – Digital Rowing

Kino Map – Kinomap fitness

POWER METERS – There will be a multitude of force gates coming onto the market this year, or so we are promised!! This will change everything in our sport. Force gates will do to rowing what the power meter did to cycling. I am sure that people will be discussing the shape of peoples curves, but I feel the biggest impact will be that boats will be permanently fitted with a force gate. The implication being that athletes and coaches will have the ability to measure the work done in a session. Just like on the ergo.

Will we see people moving to training to power and not rate or speed? Will this have the impact of using power instead of heart rate as a measure of work done? But if heart rate and power are combined then we will be getting to the point where we can measure efficiency of speed, power and heart rate.

Adding this in with the same data on the ergo means that we will begin to get a real measure of what work the athlete is actually doing.

Peach Innovations – http://www.peachinnovations.com/

OarInspired – http://www.oarinspired.com/

Nielsen Kellerman – Oar Lock

Weba – http://www.weba-sport.com/en/products/oar-power-meter-en

VIDEO – Here we have several possibilities. There are plenty of smartphone apps which help coaches get video of a session. But sometimes the zoom in essential to getting good enough images, but then the image bounces around quite a bit with the launch bouncing around as you video. Maybe having the video camera attached to your rigger might be the best of both worlds.

Having taken the video, you need to make the time to watch it. If you don’t get a chance to watch it immediately then where do you store it so all the athletes can watch it. There are a few solutions about, but the main thing that I feel people should be thinking about: is taking this video helping me go faster?

Coaches Eye – App

Go Pro – Camera

DartFish – DartFish TV

Drone – Lily Drone

Yepp – YTv

CLOUD BASED DATA ANALYSIS – Excel is dead, Google Docs is dead! The days of using and managing spreadsheets are gone, all that cutting and pasting. Not knowing where you filed it away on your hard drive. Cloud based platforms where it is all stored in one place with access for all athletes and coaches at the same time is the future. It is easier to manage, and especially for those who are not a ‘whizz’ at spreadsheets you get better summary of the data you have collected. These platform will save time, do a better job, and provide a true measure of long term progression of both a club programme and individual athletes.

There is quite a mindset change required to move away from the comfort of thinking you have all your data in one place, on your laptop. But in 2017 we will see that people move away from that comfort zone to another. Cycling and Triathlon have been doing it for a few years now and it has revolutionised data analysis!

Training Peaks – Coaches and Athletes

Rowe.rs – Coaches and Athletes

Sportlyzer – Website

SAS – Analytics software

Smartabase – database

HEALTH – Knowing what effect your training has had on your well being. What sort of rest do you need in order to be ready for your next session? What is your readiness to train. As training gets tougher and more time consuming we will need to become better at managing our recovery. We will select our next training session based on who well we have recovered from the previous bouts of training. Algorithms will see trends in how we respond to training and activity in our day to day lives.

Elite HRV – HR variability

FitBit – Activity Sensors

Polar – Sensors

Fatigue Science – Effect of sleep 

Azumio – app

Kenzenwear – wearable sensor


The future is exciting in 2018. I think that this will be the year that rowing finally comes into the era of data. Watch performances improve as people become more comfortable with large amounts of data and are able to use it to their advantage.

Please do let us have your thoughts, I am sure there are devices out there which I have missed out.

If you wish to find out more…

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