>> To be fair to Xeno, he does spend much more time on what they are doing right (IHHO), and he does say that any 'imperfections' he sees are very minor
>> and that since they won by a landslide, who's he to say it is wrong anyway.
>> TBH, the purpose of these videos isn't really to critique his subjects, but to sell his own online video analysis service, largely aimed at people who really could do with going back to 'orthodox' basics.
>> And what better way than highlighting the very best in the world.
> Well... Xeno accomplished great things in a boat and yes, he's marketing his online video analysis service.
> The problem with "orthodox" basics is that it results in yet another generation of rowers or scullers who are indoctrinated to believe that you have to have characteristic A B or C before you're going to be fast.
> and if you examine the people they're often using as examples of "great technique", you'll find that they don't necessarily do what is being attributed to them, and the "commentator" either overlooks what they actually are doing with "they'd be even faster if..." when, in fact, it MIGHT be that they're faster because of the "unorthodox" thing they do..
> Case in point - I provided video of a coaching session to a coaching clinic once - for candidates to use in "how would you help these athletes improve" (not "what are they doing wrong"). One candidate said something along the lines of:
> Stroke opens her back too early and leans way too far out to port. Bow shoots her bum and rushes her slide, they both break their knees too early and they're both pausing at the catch.
> Later in the coaching session (also in the video) they'd fixed the timing at the catch, but the coaching candidate said at the end of his critique "They'll never go anywhere, who are they?"
> 1991 world champion and 1992 Olympic champion W2- Heddle and McBean during a training session in April 1992.
> Drysdale - blades go too deep according to orthodoxy. Sullivan - too short (well, he is probably a 6 sigma for height of olympic champs). Cohen - too short (five sigma?).
> But the big question is - why ARE they fast?
You & I know that the bigger (but unspoken) question from that part of
the orthodoxy which can actually has the eyes to see that the great
performers don't conform to style diktat is: "How DARE they go so fast?"
What we also know is that those facts which don't fit the official grand
model are aberrations, fit only to be ignored.
What passes widely as Rowing Theory thus remains largely in the
Phlogiston era, or maybe in those times when it was thought that health
could be improved by being bled & malaria was due to "bad air".
Those convinced that Mahe would have gone faster if he'd gone less deep
have only to swallow their pride, get into a boat & carefully evaluate
the effect of varying blade depth while pulling at the same intensity.
I think they'd be very surprised to discover that, for the same work
rate, they had a speed-to-depth relationship rather like this (view only
in plain text):
| . .
| . .
| * .
| * .
P| * .
^ ^ ^ BLADE DEPTH
| | |
| | |< Blade going ~7cm under (say)
| |< Blade top at water surface
|< Blade bottom at water surface (zero speed)
(NB - not to scale but for indicative purposes only)
It is, of course, so much easier for those so inclined simply to ignore
this, to not experiment & to keep on asserting that _any_ amount of
looming must instantly impose unacceptable drag penalty - however
irrational that might be to anyone prepared to give it a moment's thought.
But those same folk will either not understand, or choose not to do so,
that we don't mean go instantly deep but that the blade depth should
pass through a maximum around the mid-stroke stall phase.
Carl Douglas Racing Shells -
Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write: Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK