Chapter 3 part two – How to run a learn to scull course


More bits for the juicily large third chapter follow including Charging attendees, How to get the money in and Facilities.

 4.     Charging Attendees

How much should you charge people to attend the course?
First consider the format and the number of actual rowing sessions, the budgeted costs and your hoped-for revenues.  In the example above, at least £900 of revenues are needed.

How many people can you safely accommodate on the course?  This may be limited by the number of suitable boats you have, the coaching team and the length of river you use.  For example, on the tidal Thames the fast current flow means that a higher coach  : athlete ratio is appropriate for safe rowing than on other rivers.  The number of coaching launches available therefore limits the headcount of athletes.

Think about your river.  How congested would it be if you had 20 single scullers out at the same time?  What about if there were 30 or 50?  Would it make a difference to the efficacy of your coaching and the attendees’ learning experience?

And so when you have established the maximum number of athletes you can accommodate, the fundraising aims you set out in your proposal and you know your cost overheads from the budget you drew up, you can start to see how much you need to charge attendees.

Here are some examples charged by other clubs.  
Imperial College £330 per person
Rob Roy £15 per night or £10 if you bring your own sculling boat
Tideway Scullers £200

5.     How do you get the money in?

You will need to decide how you are going to take payments from attendees – cash or cheque and in advance or on the day.  Check with the club Treasurer about direct transfers into the club bank account and who cheques should be made payable to.

It is my preference to get money in advance because then the fact that attendees have paid means that they have a commitment to turn up for every day of the course.  
You may also need to decide what to do if someone misses a day – do they get a refund?  And what about last-minute drop outs or new joiners?

6.     Facilities

What equipment and facilities do you need to run a course?
The first thing to consider are your boats.  Each rowing and sculling boat is designed for athletes of a particular weight range. Typically these go from 55 kg per athlete up to around 95 kgs – although there are boats beyond these sizes but not in most club’s ownership.

Adults – most women can be accommodated in boats from 65 – 80kgs.  
Adult men are generally in the 70 – 90 kgs range.
Juniors are more difficult to categorise – some grow when they are younger and so for boys and girls  aged from 10 – 14 years I think 55 – 70kg boat suit their needs.  From 15 – 18 for boys 70 – 80 kgs boats are usually good and for 15 – 18 year old girls 60 – 70 kg boats will suit.

Go and make a list of the boats in your club’s ownership.  Note both the boat type (eight, quad, single) and the weight.  Also count up the available oars and sculls – many clubs have more boats than oars and it’s important to have matched pairs of both boats and oars for a learn to row / scull course.

So what have you got?  In which weight classes?  The answer to these two questions will give you a clue about the type of people you want to attract to your course and how many you can accommodate in your equipment.

If you want to attract more people to your course than you have boats available there are two courses of action open to you.
1 – ask another local club if you can rent or borrow their equipment
2 – ask individual members if you can rent or borrow their private equipment – this will probably be single sculls.
In both cases, be sure to contact your insurance provider and get these loan boats covered by your club insurance policy in advance.  Most insurers will allow for ‘temporary cover’ like this for short periods of time without charging extra on your annual payment.  

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