row2k Features
Rowing Electronics: 6 Steps To Maximize Your Investment
July 25, 2020
Mike Davenport,

Following is another excerpt from Mike Davenport's posts designed to help rowing folks make the most of this downtime in the sport, as well as keep their programs on the water at any time; read the full article at Transporting Rowing Equipment: Over-invest Today To Do It Safely Tomorrow. I had everything in my launch. Stroke-watch, GPS, cell phone, walkie talkie, power megaphone—I was all set for success.

Instead, we had a terrible practice. Here's why:

  • The batteries in my stroke watch died
  • I had GPS connection issues
  • My cell phone rang numerous times, and I almost dropped (threw) it overboard
  • The walkie talkie picked up a local trucking company conversations
  • My megaphone produced feedback that would have rivaled any rock guitarist

Those issues themselves aren't what made the practice terrible. What did was that I got distracted.

I became laser-focused on the electronics and before I knew it time had run out and we were on the return dock. No improvement to show and frustration on everyone's face.

Water time is limited and often a luxury, and distraction is the breeding ground of a substandard practice.

Distraction is one down-side of electronics

But of course, there's an upside to using rowing electronics - and there better be for the investment you make.

Rowing electronics are tools. When used effectively they can help improve rowing performance and safety.

To get those benefits - the improvement in performance and safety - you must be methodical. Take steps to help make that happen. Not many steps - six actually - and I'm going to make my recommendation on those steps in a moment.

6 Steps For Maximizing Your Rowing Electronics Investment

Step #1) Have a powerfully-good reason why you use it

Why are you using that piece of rowing electronics? Because there is a benefit, right? But is the benefit worth it?

From a simple stopwatch to rowing app to the most sophisticated motion-analysis-program, the electronics should help you reach your goal. Ask yourself, “Do I really need this item in my Rowing Universe (right now)?” If the answer is NOT a resounding, “Heck Yeah!” then don't buy it, or stop using it until it can help you.

Step #2) Learn how to use it

Megaphone, speed meter, stopwatch, or other electronic gizmo…do you know how to use it?

Most people just wing it. To maximize your investment learn how to use the electronics. Read the instructions. Absorb a manual. Watch a tutorial. Talk to a user.

Step #3) Try it. Test it

Once you have an understanding of how the electronic is supposed to work give it a go. Test it!

Take your power megaphone, go yell in the woods and wake up some chipmunks. Take your speed system for a shakedown row. Use that stroke watch to measure everything.

Step #4) Use it. Evaluate it

Now that you :

  • know WHY you are using it
  • HOW to use it
  • and have TESTED it

start using it. Welcome the tool into your rowing schedule, and weave it into your workflow.

After a period of time reflect back on the reason why you have the electronics and evaluate if the tool is getting you closer to your goal.

Step #5) Fix it

Rowing electronics usually work well, but then…something breaks or gets weird. With rowing electronics the fix-it model is different. If it's not working as it should you, try to ADJUST it. If that doesn't work then send it off for repair and in the meantime replace it or go without. For the most part, rowing electronics are not consumer-repairable.

Step #6) Store it

When you are getting ready to store your electronics you NEED to know what the manufacturer recommend because you can do damage if you don't follow their suggestions.

And remember where you stored your electronics because it can get lost.

Somewhere under this pile is probably that stroke-watch or microphone I've been looking for
Somewhere under this pile is probably that stroke-watch or microphone I've been looking for

The Bottom Line

To maximize your rowing electronics investment follow these six steps:

  • Have a powerfully-good reason why you use it
  • Learn how to use it
  • Try it. Test it
  • Use it. Evaluate it
  • Fix-it
  • Store it

And keep in mind, when you welcome a piece of rowing electronics into your Rowing Universe it is nothing more than a tool -not your boss.

To learn more about rigging and equipment care, check out Mike's site, sign up for his newsletter, or consider a consult (or one of his books) at

During these unprecendented times, row2k is working hard to keep rowing coming to you; please help us keeping it coming by supporting our work!


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