Help! I’m teaching novices how to row – where do I start?


A reader writes

Hi, i have just came across your website and am wondering if you could give me any advice. I will soon be taking over as development officer at my college boat club so will be in charge of coaching all the new rowers. I am starting to put a training program together for the other coaches and am wondering what you think would be the best part of the stroke to focus on as the weeks go by?

Hi  – you’ve come to the right place.

First question – can you get hold of Rowperfects to teach the novices? I just promise you they’ll learn faster on these.

As far as the ‘best’ part of the stroke to focus on, my personal view is this

  1. Teach the leg drive first (don’t worry about back swing or arms). Get the power first (you can finesse the rest later)
  2. Also teach them how to easy oars and get the boat balanced together while it’s stationary.
  3. Get the crews rowing square blade in 4s / 6s for the first 2 weeks. Go half and full pressure alternative for 10 – 15 strokes all the time. Teach them to work hard from the beginning. Teach them half slide, full slide and body swing (don’t bother with arms only).
  4. Teach feathering later as it’s pretty complex and detracts from the power when they first learn it.

Read these two guest blog posts form Carlos Dinares
Rowing Simplicity and good Organisation Teaches Novices Faster
Part 2 Rowing Simplicity and Clarity

We offer remote “coach the coach” training which you can buy off our shop under “coaching” where an expert coach guides you and answers your questions.  100% satisfaction guaranteed and full refund if you’re not satisfied.

Do let us know how you get on.


Subscribe to our Newsletter for more information:

Our Rowing Network

Did you like this post? Support this blog and our network by donating

Feel like Rowing again? Visit the Shop at!

Accessories, equipment, boats, clothing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Posts

Whether it’s sports, nutrition or equipment, you’ll find what you’re looking for in one of these categories


Everything about rowing – browse through our large archive or search for articles of your choice


Search Blog


Rowing Network

Do you like our posts? Support this blog and our network by donating


Get all latest content and news!