Advice for coaching masters rowers


I’m working as a coach for masters this summer, first time in a coaching position. 5 years junior rowing experience.
Does anyone have any tips specific to masters? I’m working the early morning group, so they’re all dedicated women with a drive to work out hard.
It’s 3 mornings a week for an hour each practice, so I have them working long/hard steady state the first day, focusing tech and small-boat work the second, and racing on the third day.

This is a Reddit thread which I’m reproducing because the answer given is perfect.

Ok, I’m gonna shill for Rowperfect here because they have some great resources for masters rowers. I also like podcasts because, like many in the rowing world, I do a lot of driving and it’s nice to feel productive when putting in the miles. These are all on iTunes too, I’m just linking the Youtubes.

  1. Podcast with Larry Gluckman. Main thing I got from this was how he monitors training and takes a more gradual approach to progress, been a year or so since I listened to this one.
  2. Podcast with Marlene Royle. I love Marlene, she was one of the OG’s of online rowing coaching, and I also highly recommend her books. She has some great technical advice in this, and she works almost exclusively with masters rowers, so good insight there too. Also she gave me an awesome shout out, so #swoon. Her website here for more info, though most of her stuff is books, not blogs, but she does write for Rowing Magazine every month.
  3. “Rowing and Aging with Tara Morgan”. I got the opportunity to go work with Tara last week and talk with her more. I learned a lot about accommodations from her, both the technical “what do you do” as well as “why should we?”. Young coaches like us are in a tough spot. Competitive masters are going to be offended if we don’t treat them like the athletes they are/were/want to be, but they’ll also be pissed if we ignore or minimize the real effects of aging and treat them like juniors. Don’t go in assuming that masters rowers are all broken and out there for “quality of life” shit, but DO know a few things to do, or at least where to find answers and how to have the conversation, when someone needs an adjustment to something based on an injury, a disability, or whatever. I can talk more about this if you want.

A few brief articles with some good tips.
Coaching Masters As a Young Coach
Coaching Younger Masters

If you’re interested in land workouts and strength training at all, I have a few articles for masters on my site, including a sample workout template that can be done with minimal equipment. Don’t do this unless you’re capable of instructing the exercises though.

Answer by Rebecca Caroe

I’m the Rowperfect site author – thanks for the shout out, Will. I’m also a masters rower and there are a couple of things here which can help you further.

  1. Coaching kids and university is different from older adults – for kids, you HAVE to be in charge, authority, leading from the front. This is the USA way of coaching as well. In UK where I’m from, when you have experienced athletes a consultative coaching style is more normal. Face it, these ladies have been rowing longer than you have been alive. So getting their contributions may help you and also help them. They don’t expect you to know everything and mostly they’re grateful you are working with them as few masters get coached.
  2. How to do consultative coaching. Do everything advised in this thread – you need to prepare and be ready to run the session. BUT and this is the big difference, getting feedback from the crew is your number 1 change you need to make. So, instead of telling them what you saw after the piece, ask “How was that?”. Get every athlete to give some feedback during one practice. Ask the rest of the crew “do you agree with what was just said?”. Then AFTER getting the crew feedback, then give YOUR summary feedback of what you can see and advice on improvements.

This helps you in a few ways – you get to hear first from them, which can help you shape your views too and also they can give you insight what it felt like in the boat which is invaluable.


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