Reviewing your Row: Understanding the Memory Recall on the SpeedCoach GPS

You just finished an amazing workout, and you want to review your performance results on your SpeedCoach GPS®. What is the recall function telling you?

First, let’s start with reviewing your data.

The SpeedCoach GPS records information in 100m intervals. To review this data:

      1. Press the top right button to get to the Main Menu.
      2. Press the same button again to enter Recall Data Mode.


The first Interval shown (Interval 1) will be the oldest data on the unit. Each subsequent press of the top right button will progress you further along in your workout history.

For example, let’s say you have completed two separate rows on two separate days and you want to review the results for both workouts.  The images below illustrate how these results are being entered into the SpeedCoach GPS unit:

first row final

2nd row final

Note that when you begin your second row, the SpeedCoach GPS remembers and shows the interval from the first row.   Many users think that on the second time out, the new data will be populated as Interval 1 through 8 again but this is not the case.   Therefore, you need to understand where you left off previously (e.g., interval #) to review the latest data.

To keep things clean and concise, if you have a set piece that you are going to need to review, NK recommends erasing the data prior to performing the workout to ensure that the data you are reviewing is the correct information.

To erase the data stored in memory:

1. Press the top right button to get to the Main Menu.
2. Press down to highlight “Erase Data.”
3. Press the top right button again.
4. A confirmation screen will appear. Select “Yes” with the top right button.

main menu recall data

Please note that Erase Data… is a separate function from Reset on the main screen.

reset reset

If you do a reset from the main display screen, you are ONLY resetting the current interval.  You are not resetting anything in stored in memory.  If you go back to the first example, you can visually see what each function is doing.

reset erase data final

Lastly, if you are using a SpeedCoach GPS with an impeller (not applicable on SpeedCoach SUP units), you can review both the GPS and impeller data from the same row.

To do so:

  1. Recall the data as you typically would in GPS mode.
  2. Go to the Main Menu > Setup > and change Input to IMP.
  3. Recall the data again as you typically would, but now you are reviewing the impeller data to compare to the GPS data.
  4. If you were on IMP originally, this process would be reversed.

Improving Your Distance per Stroke by Legaré Smith

legre smithMost people who row, do it to become better oarsmen and thus get faster on the water. Rowers are always making subtle changes in an attempt to achieve maximum efficiency. However it is often difficult at first to feel that a change has made an improvement. The ‘Distance per Stroke’ feature on the Speedcoach GPS is an excellent training tool to measure and help improve boat run.

Ideally, increasing stroke rating and pressure should result in a lower split (more speed!!).  However, it is not easy to find the balance between more power and how high to bring the stroke rate. Using the distance-per- stroke-metric, you can experiment with changes and see a measurement that you can then use to compare when making other stroke changes. If your boat is going at a 2:00 split with a stroke rate of 25, you’re getting 10 meters per stroke. If you bring the rate up to a 30 and drop the split to 1:50, that is 9 meters per stroke. However, if you relax a little and stay long, you could achieve a 1:50 split at 28 strokes per minute which yields 9.7 meters per stroke. Over the course of 2000 meters, that is a 16 stroke difference!

legare smith 2

I know I am not alone when I say I am a visual learner; I am much more apt to keep thinking about a stroke correction if I can see an improvement.  It may feel different or uncomfortable at first, but if I see that the boat is running through the water further per stroke and I have not changed pressure or rating, that’s free speed!

“Kestrelbot” Wins First Lego League Global Challenge

Kids with kestrel poster and kestrel botEach year, teams from all over the world participate in the First Lego League challenge.  This past year, the “Aztechs2,” a team made up of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders from Adobe Bluffs Elementary School in Rancho Peñasquitos, CA , used a Kestrel 4500 as the centerpiece for their lego project.  

(Team Picture– Back row:  Casey “Captain Kestrel” K., Noah L., Caden M., Mitch H, Rohan P.  Front: Jacob H, Noah D.)

The topic for this year’s First Lego League Challenge was “Nature’s Fury.”  Teams were tasked with coming up with either a brand new solution or an improvement to a current solution to kids with Kestrel‘nature’s fury.’  The Aztechs2 decided that they would attempt to find a solution to wildfires in San Diego.  As part of their research, the team traveled to the regional National Weather Service Center to learn more about Kestrel Weather Meters and how firefighters are currently use it to help fight wildfires.

After conducting their research, the Aztechs2 brainstormed solutions and eventually came up with the idea to mount a Kestrel 4500 onto a small robot. The team believed that having the Kestrel on a robot would allow for more accurate readings since the robot could get closer to the fire than a person. The data would then be sent from the “Kestrelbot” to the fire fighters so they could decide on the best course of action.  The team presented their idea to the fire fighters from CalFire, who thought that this was a fantastic idea!

The team built a cardboard prototype and brought it to a
CalFire – San Miguel kestrel bot with firefightings in roomFire Station  to get expert feedback on their design.  The firemen loved the design, told the boys that it would save lives, and help predict the movement of the wildfires. The team had come up with a new solution that was useful!

Finally, the day of the big local qualifying tournament had arrived.  The Aztechs2 would be one of 25 teams competing.  The Aztechs2 knew their Kestrelbot was needed and a real world solution,
but there were many other great solutions too.  The boys presented their findings, explained how they decided on the Kestrelbot, shared their research, and showed the cardboard prototype.  When the final awards ceremony took place, the Aztechs2 received the first place trophy for their project!

Kids with trophy

The Aztechs2 want to thank Nielsen-Kellerman for their support and generous donation of the Kestrel.  This was a key to the team’s success—they even became known as the “Kestrel Life Savers”.  The team has also started the process for patenting their invention!”

- Casey “Captain Kestrel” K, Noah D, Noah L, Jacob H, Mitch H, Caden M, and Rohan P.

8 Fundamentals of Race Coxing

Excerpts from “The Coxswain Encyclopedia”
by Laura Simon, Stew Stokes, and Margot Zalkind

1. Race Plan and Execution

coxswainOne key to being a great race coxswain is to remember and execute your race plan. Prepare your calls before the race and have everything written down or memorized. Plan ahead and have your Cox Box® charged and ready to go at the start of the race.

2. Steering

Coxswains are trusted to steer the boat from start to finish. Make sure your crew is clean on the first 3 strokes in order to keep the bow from being thrown around at the beginning of the race. Steering can add meters to your race, slowing down your overall time, and putting you a competitive disadvantage.

3. Voice Control 

Talk calmly and with a rhythmic tone. Crews do not want to be yelled at. Speak clearly into your microphone and stay controlled, confident and excited without sounding frantic.  Make sure that you save those loud intense calls for when they really matter. You don’t want crews to tune out important calls because you’re constantly yelling.

4. Voice Intonation

Coxswains need to be able to adjust their voices based on their surroundings. Stay away from a monotonous tone. You can maintain your crews attention by constantly changing the way your voice sounds. Practice and track your voice intonation to see what works best for your crew.

5. Motivation

As a coxswain, it is your job to motivate your crew throughout practices and on race day. Be sure to attach your motivation to a technique. Make a call with an action attached to it, and let your crew know when they’ve succeeded.

6. Judging Distance and Speed of Other Boats

This skill will develop throughout your coxswain career. One technique is to pick a landmark and start counting when the crew passes that mark. Now, in seconds, you know how far behind you are. Three to four seconds is a boat length, so do the math to calculate how far behind you are.

7. Identify, Correct, and Give Feedback

Being able to successfully identify mistakes and give proper feedback is a crucial skill as you advance in your coxswain career. When you notice your crew making a mistake, give them specific feedback and instruct them on how to fix it.

Example: 500 meters into a race, your crew is starting to lose seats to another crew and begins to panic and starts rushing their slides.

Call:  “All right 8, we feel the other boat.  Let’s hold them off with patience on our slides. Keep our boat running between strokes. Stern pair(or whoever is allowing the panic to creep in), lead us with length and sending. We’re going to hold them off.  On this one!”

Then follow up with feedback

Call:  “Yes, 8 we held them to 4 seats with patience on our slides. Excellent. Let’s carry that focus over as we make our move.”

8. Eliminating Filler Comments and Speaking with Purpose

Eliminating filler comments is extremely hard to do, but it will improve your ability to successful motivate and keep your crew “in tune” with your calls. One tip is to record yourself and count how many times you use filler comments. Set goals at each practice to reduce these words.  For example if you don’t know why you’re saying it you probably shouldn’t be.


“That’s it!”  ̶  Possible filler word

“That’s it, we just increased our spacing half a foot!”  ̶   Knowledge behind what you are saying”

Source: “The Coxswain Encyclopedia.” 3rd ed. The Foundation for Rowing Education inc, March 2009. Print.

Click here to purchase the full Coxswain Encyclopedia


Is It Time to Upgrade?

The NK team wants to support our customers and make things as easy as possible! That’s why we developed the customer care discount program.

If there is a product that you’re interested in but don’t want to pay full price, chances are you won’t have to! Customers that already own an NK product and want to upgrade to a newer model can simply check the trade-in value guide on our website here. It doesn’t matter how old the product is, NK will provide you with a product credit that will save you money!

Want to know how it’s done? It’s easy!

  1. Make your purchase on NK’s website at full price.
  2. When your package arrives, take out the packing slip and make a copy of it.
  3. Send the old NK product back along with the packing slip (within 30 days) in a box marked “Customer Care Program”.
  4. Once NK receives your package, your account will be credited for the corresponding trade-in value!

View all of the trade-in values of NK’s products here.

Optimize Your Sprint

By: Jamie Baffa, NK Sports Performance Customer ServiceJamie

How high is too high? When gearing up for the last strokes of a race, you want to make sure you aren’t “spinning your wheels” by raising the stroke rate beyond what is effective for your crew. It’s easy to let adrenaline take over as the rate climbs in the last meters of a race without thinking about efficiency. As you work through the gears during the sprint, you can’t sacrifice timing, rhythm and speed just to hit a higher rate. During the sprint the goal is not to simply hit a higher rate, but to move the boat faster as you cross the line.

One way to practice the sprint and make sure you’re hitting you optimal, and not just your maximum, stroke rate is to do a series of 30 stroke pieces while bumping the rate by 2 beats every 10 strokes. By starting the 1st piece at sub-base rate and using any Speed Coach product you can monitor how effective your changes in rate are. This can show you at what point your speed tapers off as you raise the rate allowing you to develop a more effective strategy going into the last segment of your race.

Applied Ballistics Announces New ‘Kestrel Companion’ App for Android

The Kestrel Companion application is the perfect complement to your Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics for remote viewing of your shooting Larger image

Now, you can mount your Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics on a rotating weather-vane mount, update the range to target, and view the solution right on your phone – all without touching the Kestrel itself.   The large display on your phone or tablet allows a quick view of the elevation and windage holds as well as the current weather conditions and gun parameters.

By placing the Kestrel in wind-capture mode, your shooting solution will automatically update on the display with the measured wind values and wind direction.

How it Works

As of the Kestrel firmware version 4.83, the developers at Applied Ballistics have added remote-control capability over the Bluetooth link.   This allows for the range to target to be entered into the Kestrel Companion application and sent directly to the Kestrel.  The Kestrel instantly computes the shooting solution and sends it back to the Companion application – displaying it for easy viewing.


  • Maximize the capability of your Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter by allowing it to directly measure the wind speed and direction and still easily view your shooting solution
  • Remote control of your Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter over the Bluetooth Link
  • View your shooting solution on a large Android screen.

Enabling Live Wind Capture

  • From the solution screen on your Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter, pressing the  button while Wind is highlighted will enter the Wind Capture mode.
  • The label will change to indicate that the Wind Capture mode is enabled.
  • The moving 5-second average for windage and wind speed will be continually displayed on the wind line.
  • The 5-second rolling average wind measurement will be captured in Wind Speed 1 and the highest wind speed will be captured in Wind Speed 2.  This allows you to accurately bracket the wind speed values as well as your shooting solution.
  • When in Wind Capture Mode and connected to the Kestrel Companion application, your windage holds will automatically update on your Android device.

App Screenshots:

screen shots

Updating your firmware to version 4.83
Update your Kestrel with Applied Ballistics to Version 4.83, | Download PDF
Applied Ballistics Firmware Upgrade (4.83) for Bluetooth, | Download ZIP
Applied Ballistics Firmware Upgrade (4.83) for Non-Bluetooth,  | Download ZIP

Kestrel Calibration Tips

Temperature Sensor:  Should not need to be recalibratedKestrel 4000
throughout the life of the  unit.

Pressure Sensor – Should not need to be re-calibrated.

Humidity Sensor – May drift (independent of usage) up to +/- 2% every 24 months.   NK recommends recalibrating every 2 to 3 years.   This can be done in our factory or with our RH Calibration Kit throughout the life of the unit.

Wind Impeller – May drift (dependent on usage) < 1% after
100 hours use at 16 MPH.   NK recommends buying a factory
calibrated replacement impeller every 2 -4 years.

Compass – Does not need to be recalibrated.   If readings are
incorrect, customer can recalibrate compass.

Mounting the SpeedCoach® GPS Impeller Correctly

If you are having issues getting readings when using the SpeedCoach® GPS in impeller mode but have no issues with either a SpeedCoach Red / Gold / XL, then the issue is that the impeller and sensor are not mounted close enough to each other.   To properly get impeller readings from a SpeedCoach GPS, please mount the impeller directly below the sensor.  This can be a little tricky and may require two people to identify the correct location to mount it.   One suggestion is to do the following:

1) Place the boat that is having issues on slings near a place with a hose available (if possible).

2) Make sure the Blue sensor is mounted on the very bottom of the hull of the boat.  If not, move from the deck position to the hull.

3) Dismount the impeller from the bottom of the boat.

4) Have one person wave the GPS unit back and forth, while attached to the harness, to simulate a stroke rate.

5)Have the other person spray the hose (or forcefully blow) on the impeller while the stroke rate is being simulated.   Move this impeller around the bottom of the boat until a reading is shown on the unit.

6) Once you have identified the mounting location where the impeller is being picked up, remount the impeller to this spot.

7) Now your boat should be able to pick up the impeller when using your GPS unit.

The Benefits of Training with Heart Rate

By: Jamie Baffa, NK Customer Service Representative

JamieIn order to compete effectively rowers need to log countless steady states to develop a strong aerobic base. The question then becomes how do I maximize my gains during those long steady state rows? The most effective way is by monitoring your heart rate and adjusting the intensity of your work accordingly. By utilizing constant heart rate monitoring you can guarantee your body continues to use its aerobic systems without introducing painful lactic acid into the blood stream. For long steady states you want to stay at 75% of your maximum heart rate throughout the entire workout. For most athletes this will be between 150-160bpm. By constantly monitoring your heart rate you can ensure that you do not transition from aerobic to anaerobic work in the middle of a steady state thereby maximizing your training and giving you a leg up on the competition.

Nielsen-Kellerman Blog