Just a short post today to flag up a recent article I saw on the British Rowing site where current GB member Paul Bennett talks about how data analytics helps the squad train better, something that has become possible due to the support they getting now (since last year) from SAS (not to be confused with SAS the airline!). Previously articles had talked about how SAS had helped Greg Searle identify a weakness in his core from his training data in the build up to 2012 that, if they had had access to SAS at the time, would have helped them correct it before injury had crept in. There is also a video which talks some more about the association and what it brings to the squad, and also shows the men’s 8+ having what I assume is their blood lactate tested as well as what looks like a peach innovation power meter setup in the boat
One of the things that struck me as interesting from the article was one of the examples given in how SAS are currently helping the squad:
For example, in the gym, analytics tell me what weights I should be lifting, what speed I should be rowing and so on. On the water, it tells us the exact timing, power and weights required to achieve the optimum combination of team members in each boat. Every subtle measurement – no matter how small – can make a big difference to the final outcome.
Since most athletes will train as hard as they are able to given a workout (bigger is better!), having a system in place to issue weights/speeds/HR that they have to hit is a huge bonus as it allows you to make sure the athletes are training in a way to get the most out of them, particularly with the weight training where it can be difficult to know how much each muscle is being worked, if you’re missing any muscles and also when and how much to increase the weight, something that SAS’s software can help with as outlined in this blog post
The main take way from this post is that as useful as collecting data from the athlete is (like lactate, HR, wattage), it is arguably more important to be able to properly analyse that data and be able to present it in a user friendly fashion back to the athlete so that they can see any trends over time (as Rowing in Motion do with their Analytics page) and also so that the athletes can act on it and. ideally, have a goal to aim for (as Biorow do with their performance output), something that I hope all future products for rowing take into account when they hit the market.