Assessments reveal more than racing for British Rowing national team coaches

Data analysis from this weekend’s GB Rowing Team Senior and under-23 third and final team assessment will provide valuable insights into the physical condition of the squad and enable training schedules to be individually tailored according to Mark Homer, Head of Performance Science & Medicine at British Rowing.

Coaches have traditionally used times from assessments to gauge athletes’ status but with various members of the squad having undertaken differing levels of training following 2016’s competition schedule, including the Rio Olympic Games, the assessments now provide opportunity to extract greater insights for the coaches than purely the end result.

Mark Homer, British Rowing’s Head of Performance Science & Medicine, commented: “The primary objectives of team assessments are to analyse individuals’ performances throughout the course of the winter months. Having three assessments at differing points in the off-season allows us to measure individual and crew performance in relation to other athletes, both inside and outside of the GBRT squad.”

This Saturday’s third assessment in Boston, Lincolnshire, comes after previous tests in November and December. The annual schedule is used by British Rowing to ensure they are able to track athletes’ development and record valuable data year-on-year.

‘Rowing performance determinants are varied and complex, and trials racing provides feedback on the culmination of training variables. We can use on-the-water results in conjunction with biomechanical data, indoor rowing times, and gym training to paint a complete picture of rowers following the long winter training block as we approach the racing season,” concluded Homer.

Data scientists from SAS, the leader in analytics, have been working with British Rowing since March 2014 exploring a range of data from training and biomechanics to weather and diet, in a bid to unlock marginal gains that help make the boats go faster.

Stephen Ludlow, Principal Technology Consultant, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “The benefits of team assessments from a data perspective are to provide valuable and historic insights into training methods and athletes’ performances under the pressure of an assessment.

The regularity and timing of the winter assessments, combined with lots of other data, allow us to start being more scientific when analysing an individual’s performances at differing points in the year, so coaches can then have greater insight into annual performance beyond just the time recorded. Ultimately, in partnership, we can begin to make more accurate predictions about what needs to happen to increase boat speed.”

For more information about SAS’s partnership with British Rowing, visit:

About British Rowing

British Rowing, as the governing body for the sport, is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain.

Rowing has a proud history as one of GB’s most successful Olympic sports producing World, Olympic and Paralympic Champions from across the UK. The squad is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund.

Around a quarter of a million people row in England on a monthly basis, according to Sport England’s Active People Survey (APS 9 Oct 2014 – Sept 2015, aged 14+).

British Rowing’s mission is to lead, enable and inspire excellence in rowing at all levels. Our vision, through rowing, is to promote the positive impact of sport by providing an enjoyable experience for all participants while upholding our position as a leading rowing nation.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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David Smith
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