During the 2017-18 season, Swimming Canada’s High Performance Centre – Ontario sport science staff have been trialing the Trainesense SmartPaddle. The team’s biomechanist, Ryan Atkison, has been the primary user and is very happy with the results to date.
“When we were first exposed to the SmartPaddle, our initial reaction was that this information could be invaluable by helping our athletes better understand how they are applying force in the water,” Atkison said. “We tested the SmartPaddle on a few of the High Performance Centre – Ontario athletes and were able to visualize some of the stroke deficiencies we had identified the previous season. What surprised us was how much of an impact those issues had on performance and we were left with tangible action steps to improve those gaps.”
Prior to implementing the system into regular use, the sport science team conducted a validation of the SmartPaddle system, along with other wearable tools used in the daily training environment.
“This project has given us great confidence in the data the SmartPaddle system provides, and helped clarify how we could best use the system,” Atkison said.
During the trial period, Swimming Canada staff members have been engaging regularly with the Trainesense team and making use of the remote analysis capability of the SmartPaddle system. The Canadian team has collected the data and carried out analysis, while Trainesense staff has reviewed the results and given instructions on the next steps.
“We value highly the support we have been getting from Trainesense. They have been incredibly co-operative and transparent, and their experience and guidance with the system is invaluable,” Atkison added. “Although our use of the system has been somewhat ad hoc so far, we have gleaned a lot from our collections through our communication with the Trainesense team. In particular, we have a better sense of what we are seeing through video and how it is related to force in the water. The information SmartPaddle provides helps to build knowledge, understanding, and awareness for both the athlete and the staff user, and that aspect has certainly been a benefit this year.”
”With more than 15,000 recordings in our database, we have solid information on most important factors in swimming. We also co-operate closely with our customers and have a good understanding on how to use the data to coaches’ and swimmers’ benefit,” says Riku Rimpela, one of the Trainesense founders.
Based on the experience from this season, systematic performance follow-up will be developed.
“SmartPaddle is obviously a powerful monitoring tool. For the coaches it enables detecting more efficient methods for training both in pool and dryland. It helps the athletes to develop a better understanding of their stroke technique,” Atkison said.
”We are happy to continue and deepen our co-operation with Swimming Canada,” Rimpela added. “There is a limit you can reach in isolation and therefore we value highly the community of our users. We do believe that one plus one is more than two.”
SmartPaddle is commercially available in Europe. In Canada, the channels for commercial roll-out are being developed and a series of training courses is planned. Trainesense is looking to increase their presence in Canada.