Rowing Coaches

Rigging Set-Up v. Performance (Lewis & Purcer)

Comparative Analysis of Rigging Set-Up and Success Amongst Single Scullers at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 FISA World Championships (Rowing) is a paper by Zachary Lewis and Mike Purcer. The study began in the fall of 2016 with rigging analysis of the top twelve singles in each of the eight category at the U19, U23 and Senior World Championships in Rotterdam, NED.  The research was supplemented with analysis of the senior men and women at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships. The information presented within suggests that coaches would be wise to analyze Drive Time and Blade Slip to determine the efficiency of their rigging.

About the authors:

Zachary Lewis is a high performance coach with an extensive background researching and training elite athletes and performers. He has completed certifications in sport psychology, coaching, strength and conditioning,functional movement training, and athletic nutrition. As a consultant Zak has worked with athletes competing at the NHL, NCAA, Crashed Ice, World Championship and Olympic levels, from national sport organizations across Canada, Australia, and Vietnam. His primary research interests include performance psychology, coaching, and performance model investigation.

Mike Purcer has coached with a particular interest in rigging for over forty years.  His book RIGGING was first published in 1985 and has been updated and reprinted several times with the last addition in 2014.  Mike authored the Performance Analysis - Rigging Chapter of the Rowing Canada Avrion Performance Coach manual that provides advanced level coaches an outline of rigging analysis. He continues to research in many areas of rowing, presenting regularly at coaches conferences in Canada and USA as well as providing camps and other opportunities for athlete and coach development.  

Purcerverance Analysis sheet help

This two page pdf details the information on Purcerverance analysis sheets to help coaches and athletes understand the data.  The first page shows the Technique analysis sheet with notes explaining the measurements.  The second page relates to the Rigging and Boat Fit sheet and explains the analysis to help understand efficiency.   

How to video for speed curve analysis


Camera Setup for Boat Speed Analysis

1) Setup video camera on tripod (stationary) aimed perpendicular to the path of the boat.

2) The camera should be at a distance from the boat 5 to 10 times the boat length.

3) The camera should be set to record at 60 frames per second (FPS) if possible, 30 FPS is also acceptable. Almost all video formats are usable. 

4) Aim the camera to allow the boat to cross through the viewfinder frame horizontally through the centre of the screen. 

5) The camera should be zoomed in to record the bow of the boat, athlete and blade from mid recovery through one complete stroke to mid drive on the second stroke.

6) Place a bow marker on the boat to allow easy tracking.

7) The crew should be rowing at race rate and intensity as in body of race (not sprinting) .  Video taken of the crew in the body of the race is ideal. 

8) Measure and record the length of the shell from bow to stern. 

9) Record the rigging dimensions of spread, oar length, inboard and blade type.

10) Send the video along with the boat length and rigging dimensions to purcerverance@gmail.com. Video file size over 5mb will need to be transferred via dropbox. Email purcerverance for access to a Drobox to upload your file(s).

Seat racing

  1. Seat Racing is used by many coaches in the crew selection process.  Here are two files that detail the Purcer Matrix developed in the late 1970's.  This method uses two fours to seat race eight athletes in an effort to find the best boat movers.   

4.5 Seat Racing Fours (pdf)


Seat Race Analysis (xlsx)