Monday, October 1, 2007

Seat Racing As Part of Selection

Selection – Seat Racing As Part of Selection
By D.J.Holland. C.U.B.C.
From including diagram of seat racing.
1. Context
Ø Selection is an issue for all crews.
Ø Dissatisfaction with selection procedures or outcomes is a common negative factor in crew performance.
Ø Good selection policy and procedures are a useful management tool.
o Rowing is a team sport, teams must be chosen.
o Bad selection or selection that doesn’t meet the expectations of the team will reduce performance and enjoyment.
o Just look at all the headlines!
o Good selection is a way of managing athletes. Use selection as a way of managing expectations, good selection shows the athletes why the decisions have been made.

2. Selection Philosophy
Ø All selection tests are an approximation of the final event.
o Time.
o Usually distance.
o Often boat type.
Ø Continuum from social to performance driven.
o Selection is always done before the event, no substitutions in rowing!
o So, the selector is making a choice before the event about which athletes he / she thinks will be fastest on race day over a specific course.
o Information to make this choice is imperfect. Tests are done before the event, over different distances , in different boats.
o From this imperfect information the selector must extrapolate forward to race day and make a judgement.

3. Selection Methods
Ø Continuum from subjective to objective.
– Social.
· Who turns up.
· Taking turns.
o More appropriate for children, recreational.

– Coaches opinion.
· Technique.
· Compatibility.
· Age.
· Experience / service.
o Opinions are valid, but make sure the athletes know that opinion is the basis.
o Technique is a valid selection criterion but hard to measure.
o Age is a valid measurement, too young.
o Experience, do last year’s medals count?
o Service, do you reward loyalty? What effect does this have on other people and their performance?

– Physiology
· • Size / weight etc
· • Ergo scores
o Training scores
o Maxima
o Weight adjusted maxima
o Easily measured but what is the effect on boat speed?
o Low tech or high tech? Height, weight, wingspan or Max oxygen uptake and anaerobic thresholds?
o What ergo score? 2km? 5km?, maximal or submaximal? Which machine on which setting? What if any weight correction factor?

– Racing
· Regattas
· Time trials
· Matrices
· Seat racing
o Which regattas? If you are racing 2km then relatively easy. How to simulate the HORR or WeHORR. Henley? Boat Race?
o Time trials. What distance? Relatively easy to manipulate.
o Matrix. Good and useful but require fleets of identical boats, multi lane courses etc. Big assumption that 2- speed equates to 8 speed.

4. Choosing a Selection Process
Ø • To suit crew and objective.
Ø • To suit facilities and abilities.
Ø • Usually a mix of tests is better.
o Fit the tests to the ambitions of the crews. Don’t repeatedly test young people on the ergo. A-M small etc.
o Fit the tests to the water and testing equipment you have. Don’t seat race on the Tideway!
o Tests should fit the training at the time, long in winter, shorter in summer.
o Test that which you are training. Simple tests can work, pull ups!

5. The Case for Seat Racing
Ø Advantages.
o Fair
o Transparent
o Repeatable
o Good training
o Can be a good simulation of racing
Ø Disadvantages.
o Time consuming
o Requires space and equipment
o Requires a good level of rowing ability.

6. Principles of Seat Racing.
Ø Everything held constant except athletes.
Ø Comparisons are one to one, athlete to athlete.
Ø Each race after the null race gives only one piece of information
o Only thing changed is one athlete per boat. This gives a measure of those two
o athletes.
o Null race tells nothing about the athletes but may tell something about a crew.

7. Assumptions for Seat Racing.
Ø All athletes are honest and well motivated.
Ø All athletes have comparable levels of fitness and skill.

8. The Rules of Seat Racing
Ø Only one change at a time.
Ø Athletes must not know what the nextchange is.
Ø Times don’t matter, differences do.
o Exception is a double change and a comparison with an earlier race.
o Athletes know neither the number of races or the next change.
o Total time is irrelevant to the seat racing. It does give information about the general level of the team.

9. Procedure
Ø Use fours.
Ø Coxed is usually better than not.
Ø Decide a distance.
Ø Decide, and enforce, a rate.
Ø Boats must be similar and capable of being rigged identically. Identical boats are better.
o Eights too clumsy
o Steering is vital, can distract the steersman and leads to difficulty boating crews.
o I use 1500m
o I use 34 or free.
o Similar boats are acceptable, rig must be identical. Usual convention is that athletes can change height and stretcher only.

Ø Course should be straight, and have consistent conditions across both lanes.
Ø Bouyed courses are significantly superior.
Ø Cox’ns, if used, say nothing except rate.
Ø Boats stay in same lane.
Ø All comparisons are done between crews with only one difference.

Ø All sequences require a null race with a small difference between the crews.
Ø Changing two athletes at a time is allowed but the comparison is with an earlier crew.
Ø If in doubt, change back.
o If the null race has more than 1 length difference start again.
o Careful! Change two athletes so that in effect you go back to the previous line up and make a single change.
o If any result seems doubtful, change back and check.

Ø Comparisons are only allowed within sessions.
Ø Less than 1 sec is not a result.
Ø All athletes should have the same number of races.
o You cannot compare between sessions.
o Draws are acceptable data.
o This applies if you have more than 2 boatfuls.

10. Common Errors
Ø Inconsistent water.
Ø Too great a distance between crews.
Ø Rating differences.
Ø One or more incompetent athlete.
Ø Bad steering.

11. Traps
Ø Not thinking ahead.
o Decide what comparisons you need, boat crews accordingly.
Ø Not having enough time.
Ø Too many races.

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