The art and science of coaching GB Rowing

10 Apr 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

In a film released by SAS, the official analytics partner of British Rowing, coaches and athletes highlighted the crucial role data analytics plays in a successful international team.

The film was shot during an overseas training camp with the women’s rowing squad in Seville, Spain, as they prepare for this summer’s European Championships.

Data scientists from SAS have been working with British Rowing to analyse data from training and biomechanics to weather and diet, in a bid to unlock marginal gains that can help make the boats go faster.

Speaking about the role that data can play, Paul Thompson, GB Rowing team's chief coach for women said: “You've got to be evidence based to use your judgement. In a coaching sense it's the art and the science, and that's where the two interact,”

"We can measure lots of things. The skill for me is finding out what the most important thing for that athlete to focus on is and what we can actually change.”

Zoe Lee, who was part of the women’s eight that won Britain’s silver medal at Rio 2016 added: “I love being able to use any data that I've recorded to track the trends in my improvement and how a crew has evolved over time. It's been really important to me coming back from rehab and injury last season to be able to go, I've improved this much in the last month and that puts me on track relative to my best in 2015/2016 seasons by this much."

Peter Pugh-Jones, head of technology at SAS UK & Ireland, said: “At SAS, we have the capability to use innovative software and services, including the latest advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), to transform a world of data into intelligence that empowers and inspires our customers.

“With British Rowing, we use powerful analytics that puts it at the leading edge when it comes to extracting insights from a variety of data within the sport, helping the squad to maintain its reputation as the dominant force in the world of rowing.”