LT 064 | Dr. Volker Nolte – Rowing Faster

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In Episode 064 of the LEO Training Podcast I had the honor to sit down and interview Dr. Volker Nolte. Volker and I met at the 2016 Joy of Sculling Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Dr. Volker Nolte is the head rowing coach and assistant professor at Western, where he teaches biomechanics and coaching. Since 1993, Nolte’s leadership has led the men’s rowing team to 11 Ontario University Athletics Championships and four Canadian University Rowing Championships. Since 2010, he is also the head coach for the women’s program. In the 2011-12 season, Nolte coached both the men’s and women’s teams to OUA championships. In the 2013-14 season, Western captured both the OUA Men’s and Women’s titles again. In addition, the men’s and women’s teams were both 2013 National Champions, winning titles at the Canadian University Rowing Championships. The 2014-15 season saw the women take their second consecutive OUA, and National titles, while the men placed second at Provincials and fourth at Nationals.

Nolte’s work as a coach was recognized several times over his career. He received the Award of Merit from Rowing Canada Aviron in 1996 and the International Rowing Federation (FISA) in 1998, the President’s Award from Rowing Canada in 1998 and was the 3M Coach of the Year in 2001. In 2006 and 2007, he was awarded Coach of the Year from the Canadian University Rowing Association and was the first Western coach after Jack Fairs who received the Jack Fairs Coaching Award of Merit in 2009. In 2010, Nolte was presented with the Coaches’ Recognition Award from Rowing Canada.

Nolte’s expertise is documented many times through invitations that he receives from rowing programs all over the world. The latest acknowledgments came through invitations from New Zealand Rowing (2007), US Rowing (2008) and the German Rowing Association (2010). He has also been invited to guest-coach both famous Boatrace Crews Oxford (2006) and Cambridge (2010) in years when they won their races. In addition, he was the lightweight men’s national team coach with Rowing Canada from 1992 to 2000. His national team crews won an Olympic silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, two World Championship titles in 1993 and 2000, and several more medals at World Championships.

Nolte received both a Physical Education Diploma (1976) and a Civil Engineering Diploma (1979) from the University of Saarbrücken (Germany), and a Ph.D. (1984) from the German Sport University in Cologne (Germany) in Biomechanics.

He is an internationally acknowledged expert in biomechanics. Together with his expertise in the coaching field, he frequently presents at scientific and coach education conferences worldwide. His research includes coaching and biomechanics of high performance sport, especially rowing. He is also a distinguished researcher in the field of sport equipment. He co-holds international patents for isokinetic training machines and his developments range from special measurement tools up to new boat designs in rowing. His research has produced many papers in refereed journals, articles in various publications and the popular book “Rowing Faster”, now in its second edition (2011).

Nolte is an experienced rower, representing his home country Germany at several World Championships and he is still a keen competitor in the Master’s events.

Here is what we discuss in this interview:

  • Dr. Nolte’s background, education, and roots in rowing
  • Overview of block vs. random practice
  • Rowing Faster
  • Why the erg and the boat are different
  • The importance of “play” in finding your own stroke
  • The importance of variety and exposure to younger athletes to help their learning and development
  • Why you cannot learn rowing on the ergometer and how balance is a major factor
  • and much more.

Show Notes: