Coaching younger masters

Achieving rowing mastery at early ages

Anna got in touch from Utrecht in the Netherlands asking us to write content for Youngish masters rowers.

Coaching racing masters is a challenge because unlike student rowers they do not have unlimited time.  You have to be flexible in your expectations for the group and so if you can start by agreeing targets, but know that work can and will get in the way of full crews for training.

So for younger masters rowers my advice is this

  1. Use a 6-8 times per week training programme.  This means training once per day or twice per day at weekends with a couple of week days
  2. Shorten the outing length and raise the intensity of the training during the week day sessions.  That way time spent is compressed but training effect is maintained
  3. Expect them to be getting scores similar to younger rowers – the only thing which should be slowing them down is lack of fitness not losing strength
  4. Older bodies need gentle treatment.  Get very strict about stretching.  This can be done with yoga / pilates or a post-outing stretch.  Pay particular attention to hamstrings, quadriceps and the pelvic area

Now if your athletes are not yet rowers or are new to the sport, you will need to take a slightly different approach.

  1. Use the daylight rowing sessions to teach boat handling.  In my opinion you learn faster in a single scull than in an eight – but that may not be possible in your club
  2. Insist on indoor rowing sessions to build fitness and to teach them the skills drills you want to do in the rowing boat. It also allows them to become familiar with the coxing calls.
  3. Understand that you cannot teach fitness in the rowing boat until after the oar handling skills are mastered.  Alternative fitness gains can be made by running, cycling or with weight lifting.
  4. Make sure your athletes understand that injuries can come from tight muscles and that early treatment is best!

Now, what else would you add to my list of suggestions?

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