10 Apr 2017

Start sequence evaluation - unlock your speed secrets

Ever wondered if your start sequence is the best for your crew. Is your sequence - ¾, ¾, ½, ¾, full or full, ½, ¾, ¾, ¾, ¾? Or do you have some other starting sequence that works well? How do you know its actually the best for your crew?

Recently we received a query from a New Zealand based rowing coach wanting to know the same thing.

Hey Ken, just got some stats on our under 15 novice four. 4 times 5 min pieces, 3 mins at 26 spm 2 mins at 28 spm. Starting with a 20 stroke racing start each time. The first two of these 5min pieces were this start sequence, 3/4,1/2,3/4, full strokes. The third and 4th 5 min pieces were start sequences full, 1/2,3/4,3/4,3/4, full strokes. 

We also did three 10 stroke starts before the end of the row. All the same sequence 

Full,1/2,3/4,3/4,3/4,fullstrokes and so on till ten strokes completed .

If you could tell me which start sequence is faster?? That would be awesome ! Max speed wise and maybe distance covered in the first 15-20seconds or time taken to cover 100m or whatever you think.

Cheers Ian            

Rowlytics enables you to dive into detailed analytics of boat acceleration and power. And more importantly, it allows you to identify the best approach for your crew. We record a lot of data, we then present it in very easy to understand graphs and tables.

With Ian’s permission, we pulled up his crew's data and got to work.

Hi Ian
The quickest way to compare the 4 pieces is with the 50m splits graph.

Our 50m Splits graph gives statistics for every 50 meter section of a training piece, starting from the first stroke (automatically!)

Blue - plots the average speed in meters per second

Green - plots the stroke rate

Yellow - ploes the split time in seconds

Red - plots the estimated power output for the entire sector in Watts

Orange - plots how efficiently the power was used to generate speed for the sector (a lower number is better!)

Piece 1:

This one is nice and smooth, you can see the Blue speed line increases from the start, drops off a bit after the start but otherwise keeps quite a steady trend towards the 1000m mark. The Red power line also shows a good powerful start, followed by even power through out the rest of the piece.

Piece 2:

A noticeable drop in speed at the 150-200m split, (Blue line) the power backs off a bit, efficiency gets worse, things settle down and recover at the 550m mark. The first part of this piece show a lot of inconsistancy from 50m section to 50m section.

Piece 3:

Again a speed drop (Blue line), and then things recover. The start begins well, however speed and power falls away dramatically towards the 300m mark, where it begins to settle down as the piece progresses towards the 750m mark.


Piece 4:

This is the most interesting piece, its very consistent. Speed is very steady, power is consistent through out, a nice controlled effort, showing no signs of panic or other factors.


Looking at these graphs its easy to see a direct relationship between spped/power/efficiency and stroke rate.

Every crew is different, using these graphs its very quick to unlock the secrets to making specific teams fast based on how they perform, or changing the way they perform to further increase their performance (think stroke profiling of individuals and teams)


Looking at all four pieces in the main graph:


This is the main data view we display on our analytics portal. It shows the minimum and maximum points for every stroke (the yellow band, we call this the power band) and the speed plotted against it as the blue line.

You can see why 4 looks good, there’s good power at the start, which does drop off as you transition to race pace (expected), but then the power just steadily increase all the way to the end, very even. This is quite similar to piece one too, however piece one is missing the good start.

If you wish, you can zoom in on a piece of data you needed to further analyse and see every seperate stroke, potentially there is a reason why pieces 2 and 3 are quite irregular.

In summary

As you can see, we have been able to quickly overlay 4 start sequences to work out the most effective for Ian’s crew. Using our analytics, you can quickly evaluate start sequences, or entire races quickly and efficiently. You can build up trends over time helping your crews unlock their true speed potential.

Ken , that info is awesome ! Seriously! I gave my u15 four some feedback which was really cool! We're gona stick to the faster of the two starts full, 1/2,3/4,3/4,3/4, full. The kids feel its better, and the stats say that it is. Boom! Progress. I showed them the graphs as well. They are pretty smart kids (in the classroom ) so they understood. Mint.


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