Coaches, athletes, it’s been too long! We’re starting 2024 off with a bang by upgrading RowHero in a major way. With these new updates, you can teach your rowers to “sync up” their stroke on land and track how well they perform. The end goal? Rowers learn and reinforce indoors what they should be doing outdoors.
How does it work? It starts with the Force Curve view. Athletes can see this any time they start an erg piece by swiping left. This view highlights two data points: Smoothness and Peak Force %.
Every stroke you pull shows your force curve in light blue on the graph. There are a lot of different opinions on how to coach the force curve, but one consistent principle is that we teach athletes to “maximize the area under the curve” to make the boat faster. This means you should avoid concave sections in your force curve, where it looks like it folds in on itself.
There is very little of this in the stroke above, but check this one out:
The orange dashed line shows what your force curve would look like if you removed any concave sections, so you see what force curve shape you should strive for. For those who prefer hard numbers, you can look at your Smoothness score on the left side of the page.
We define “Smoothness” as a number from 0 to 10 that represents how close your blue line is to the orange line. We typically recommend that athletes who hit 9.7 or above have good force application that will transfer to the water. 9.9 or above is excellent.
Peak Force %
Peak Force % is how far into the stroke (% of overall drive time) the rower applies the maximum force to the handle.
This is a great cue to see if you apply force in a way that optimally moves the boat, regardless of how strong you are. The goal Peak Force % depends on what type of boat you row. Boats with faster hulls (8+ and 4x) benefit most from an earlier peak. They don’t slow down much in between strokes, so you need to get the blade in the water and apply a lot of force quickly to build speed. It’s like trying to keep a bicycle wheel spinning. You “tap it along”—a coaching cue I’m sure many of you have used.
Boats with slower hulls (1x and 2-) benefit from a later peak. They slow down significantly in between strokes, so keeping the boat moving is more of a gradual build to the finish than it is a lightning fast leg drive.
RP3 Rowing recommends a peak of 32 – 38% for fast hulls and 45 – 50% for slower ones.
Before you get too absorbed into specific percentage ranges, remember to start simple and meet your athletes where they are. We recommend first to use Peak Force % as a way to see which athletes pull vastly different stroke profiles compared to the rest of your team. When you know who’s significantly different or inconsistent, you can work with them directly on their stroke.
You can see this on the team rankings view:
When your athletes generally pull around the same Peak Force %, you can raise the difficulty by setting the exact range you want your athletes to pull in.
You can set Peak Force targets for your team in the Team Settings menu.
The Precision Bar
Now you understand those two metrics, you understand the foundation of the Precision Bar: the bar at the top of the screen with the words “PRECISION” and the 10 bubbles next to it.
Every stroke you pull with a Smoothness of 9.7+ and a Peak Force % inside the target range counts as a Precision Stroke. 1 Precision Stroke fills in 1 bubble.
Get multiple Precision Strokes in a row and you start a streak.
Then, coaches, you can see how your athletes are performing Precision Strokes in 3 different ways:
- Precision Stroke Percentage – The number of Precision Strokes the athlete took during the workout divided by the total number of strokes.
- Precision Stroke Best Streak – The number of Precision Strokes the athlete took during their highest streak.
- Precision Stroke Count – The total number of Precision Strokes the athlete took during the workout.
Getting everyone on the same page with their force application normally takes a lot of time rowing together. Why not make it easier this winter by making the most of the data you have available? Our goal is that RowHero’s Precision Bar helps your team get there and unlock some new boat speed this spring.