A Video-Based Method to Quantify Stroke Synchronisation in Crew Boat Sprint Kayaking

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Cheryl Sihui Tay, Pui Wah Kong

The study aimed to quantify stroke synchronisation in two-seater crew boat sprint kayaking (K2) using a video-based method, and to assess the intra- and inter-rater reliabilities of this method. Twelve sub-elite sprint kayakers (six males and six females) from a national team were paired into six single-gender K2 crews. The crews were recorded at 120 Hz with a sagittal-view video camera during 200-m time trials. Video analysis identified four meaningful positions of a stroke (catch, immersion, extraction and release). The timing difference (termed “offset”) between the front and back paddlers, within each K2, at each stroke position was calculated, with zero offset indicating perfect synchronisation. Results showed almost perfect intra-rater reliability of this method. The intra-class correlation (ICC) ranged from .87 to 1.00, and standard error of measurement (SEM) from 0 to 5 milliseconds (ms). Inter-rater reliability was substantial to almost perfect (ICC .72 – .94, SEM 2 – 6 ms). On average, 35 strokes were analysed for each crew and the mean offset was 17 ms, or 5.7% of water phase duration. Crews were more synchronised at the catch (11 ms, 3.8%) than the release (21 ms, 7.2%). However, the stroke synchronisation profiles of the six sub-elite crews varied considerably from each other. For example, the best performing male and female crews had directly contrasting profiles. This suggests that there is no universal stroke synchronisation profile for well-trained sprint kayakers. This video-based method may aid future investigations on improving performance.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0038
Key words
paddling, team-boat, technique, performance, reliability

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