How well does your club treat beginners?


An issue that is beginning to receive widespread recognition throughout the global rowing community is the acknowledgement that beginner rowers are having a tough time adapting to or remaining in the sport.

Attrition rates in learn-to-row courses in the UK  have been reported to have higher than a 95% drop out rate.

With beginners being forced to spend endless sessions pulling aimlessly on erg machines, or making do trying to learn to row with sub-par equipment, it’s no wonder that after a few sessions, they give up.

Last week, Rowperfect hosted a discussion between some of the World’s elite authority figures on beginner rowing and uncovered some excellent insights. It became apparent that fostering an environment centred around fun and learning was crucial for appealing to beginners. By doing so, clubs have been shown to have a significantly better effect on encouraging ongoing participation. Providing the right mentorship and guidance is also a key factor in beginner retention.

With rowing clubs seeking to improve the rate of beginner retention and grow the size of their memberships, concentrated action needs to follow on from this discussion to make rowing more appealing to beginners.

To address this, Rowperfect have released a new e-book, titled “New Recruits and the Survival of Rowing Clubs – a Blueprint for Action”, written by  Canadian rowing coach, Walter Martindale.

The e-book  identifies a number of common deterrents that beginners face when entering the rowing community. It goes on to tie in the ideas mentioned in the discussion above and also what clubs can do to improve their appeal to new members.

In this e-book, you will learn tips on how to:New recruits cover 2

  • minimise beginner attrition
  • make rowing clubs more appealing to beginners
  • facilitate membership growth
  • create a better club culture and integrate club members

And more!

New recruits and the survival of rowing clubs is available for purchase from the Rowperfect store and on Amazon for Kindle.

Get your copy now!


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

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Richard

    Later in life learn to rowers (17+ years of age, more so than ever a lot of masters rowers) there is still quite a push to compete in rowing. The aim being to race and to race at a high level. For a beginner this may seem daunting, and if any one is realistic it takes quite sometime the older you are in life to catch up to someone that has rowed as a young junior.

    When learning there is a overriding focus on technique which forgets that the person might be there to get fit as their main motivation.

    Clubs should maybe have a secondary focus on just getting people involved for fitness rather than the primary focus of bringing everyone into rowing to race.

    I know very few people who row just for fitness on the water, but this should get included in available memberships and methods of coaching at rowing clubs to get beginners more involved and great reward for their time.

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      Yes, indeed, Richard. Jim Flood hates the word ‘recreational’ rowing. He suggests Rowing for Fitness and it’s a totally valid reason to want to join a club.

  2. Beth

    I have been noticing this for years. One of the problems is that most people who join have a preconceived idea that the sport is easy. and are surprised that there is more to it than a sport like kayaking.. I do notice that if your regular club members are friendly toward the LTR people, and asking about their progress and sharing their LTR stories, they feel less intimidated by the sport. Make the LTR feel they are already part of your organization even if they are not yet members, it does help.

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      Great suggestions, Beth. I love the idea of conversations and learning to share stories.

  3. J

    I was very keen when i did the learn to row course at my local club. However i soon found the coach was very interested in those that were naturals and a promising talent and focused on these people that had more potential, She wasnt over friendly and i found her a bit difficult to talk/relate to. I soon felt isolated and hopeless and lost enthusiasm as i persevered but some weeks found getting the technique right extremely difficult and its soul destroying to see those around you doing a much better job. A few of the older more experienced members of the club helped me a couple of times and this really helped with my confidence. I am no longer a member of my local club but really miss Rowing and am looking to purchase my own scull and looking out for a club nearby that may allow me to Row.

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!