Coordination dynamics in crew rowing

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    Crew rowing is often quoted as an archetypical example of team behaviour, synchronisation processes and joint action. Although traditionally rowers strive to move in perfect unison, it has been suggested that rowing in antiphase coordination might prove to be more mechanically efficient and thus faster. Theoretically, by alternating their strokes rowers would reduce velocity fluctuations of the boat, which would potentially result in faster racing times. The current dissertation investigates movement coordination of the crew in both in- and antiphase coordination and the effects thereof on the movements of the boat. Experiments were performed in the lab using ergometers that were connected through slides (as to mimic one ‘boat’ moving with respect to the water) and on the water using a custom-made measurement system. Although the antiphase pattern is less stable than the (well trained) in-phase pattern, the results show that rowers are well able to row together in antiphase, even when trying for the very first time. Interestingly, both coordination patterns proved to be more stable at the higher compared to the lower movement frequency. Moreover, rowing in antiphase indeed reduces velocity fluctuations of the boat.
    Although rowing in antiphase did not result in faster racing times yet, the results provide a promising first indication of the potential benefits of antiphase rowing.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Lemmink, Koen, Supervisor
    • Zaal, Frank, Supervisor
    • de Poel, Harjo, Co-supervisor
    Award date9-Sept-2019
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-94-034-1851-3
    Electronic ISBNs978-94-034-1850-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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