Applications of Rowing Instrumentation Systems

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Holt, Ana C (2021) Applications of Rowing Instrumentation Systems. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The objectives of this thesis were to establish the validity of commercially available rowing instrumentation systems for the measurement of oar angles and power to inform the interpretation of these measures, extend knowledge regarding the prediction of on-water rowing race performance and the contribution of measures of rowing technique and boat acceleration to rowing performance. From a practical perspective, this thesis aims to enable coaches and sport scientists to identify specific areas where performance improvements can be attained in the athletes they work with. Studies One and Two established the concurrent validity of rowing instrumentation systems for measures of oar and power, respectively. Concurrent validity was acceptable for Peach systems for oar angle (trivial to small but unclear systematic bias, and trivial to small random errors) and power per stroke (possibly or likely trivial random errors of -3.0 to -16%). EmPower systems did not have acceptable validity for oar angle (trivial to small but unclear systematic bias, and moderate to extremely large random errors) or power per stroke (likely or decisively substantial random errors of 9.7 to 57%). Only power was assessed in Weba and Concept2 systems as catch and finish oar angles are not measured by these devices. The random error associated with power per stroke was 61 to 139% for Weba and -28 to 177%) for the Concept2. Systematic bias in mean power was negative for all devices (Concept2, -11 to -15%; Peach, -7.9 to -17%; EmPower, -32 to -48%; Weba, -7.9 to -16%). Study Three investigated the contributions of power, stroke rate, headwind, technical efficiency, race conditions, and stroke-velocity variability in 45 rowing race performances. The unexplained prediction error was 0.35 to 0.55% across the four boat classes assessed. Effects on race velocity were extremely large for mean race power, small to large for mean stroke rate in singles, large to extremely large for headwind, trivial to extremely large but unclear for technical efficiency, very large or extremely in singles for race conditions, and small to trivial but mostly unclear for stroke-velocity variability. Specific measures of rowing technique from the Peach system were investigated in Study Four by evaluating their individual relationships with rowing velocity. Substantial relationships with velocity were found between most variables before adjustment for power and stroke rate, but effect magnitudes were reduced after adjustment for power and stroke rate. The greatest modifying effects were found for stroke rate, mean and peak force, and power output before adjustment, and for catch angle after adjustment for stroke rate and power. Study Five explored relationships between boat acceleration profile and rowing performance. Several measures of acceleration magnitude and jerk had substantial effects before adjustment but were reduced in size after adjustment for stroke rate and power. Substantial effects were found for maximum negative drive and peak drive acceleration magnitudes, and jerk in the early-to-mid drive and late recovery phases after adjustment for stroke rate and power. The findings of this thesis show Peach instrumentation systems have adequate reliability for stroke-to-stroke assessment of oar angles and power output. Race performance can be predicted from power, stroke rate and technical efficiency. Stroke rate, power, force, and catch angle are key areas where improvements in performance can be attained, as are changes in boat acceleration profile reflecting the late recovery, catch placement and early drive phases of the stroke.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords rowing, technique, performance, angles, Peach instrumentation systems
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