Learn to Row as an asset to the club

learn to row, rowing race

Mike Landers continues his article series from Learn to Row to National Champions. Read part 1- LTR to national champions 

My own club (Marlow RC) like many others has seen an explosion in interest since the 2012 Olympics – last year alone our membership expanded by over 100, most of them completely new to the sport and many of them past the first flush of youth.

Fresh novices bring energy and a very welcome income stream to a club, they also put pressure on the club’s fleet and Learn to Scull coaching team. The real question might be about what happens once they’ve passed LTS – historically many newbies have found the prospect of winter in a single too daunting and have lost interest by the time the next summer comes around. Without guidance they can drift away from our sport, but it’s avoidable.

So how do you assimilate so many people with a wide range of aspirations and abilities and transform them from individuals who’ll buy ten coaching lessons for £200 into people who’ll be an asset to your club for the next 25 years? At Marlow we might have hit on an answer, not the only answer but one that’s worked well for us. The table below tells a story.

learn to row, rowing race
Learn to Rowers learn to race and win

Since we started in 2012 we’ve won 37 gold medals in 5 novice crews and another 7 at IM3 (low status racing) by novices who’ve progressed, at the British Rowing Masters National Championships. Every medal listed above was won by a club member who learned to row or cox at Marlow and went on to become a National Champion. Granted it’s a fairly narrow definition of a national champion – the best novices in the country, in a given age range, in a specific boat type but if you’re a 50 year old accountant with a busy job and a family what other way are you going to earn the title “National Champion”?

How did Marlow Rowing Club achieve this?

Alumnus Sir Steve Redgrave aside, there’s little that’s unique about Marlow RC. There’s early stage rowers splashing around at most clubs who are only 250 hard hours away from being a National Champion and who would love to be one but who need corralling into a group and putting on a challenging coaching program.

We’re happy to share how we’ve done it, in the hope that you’ll do the same and we’ll see you on the start line in Nottingham next June.

Next, I’ll tell you The Recipe for Novice Rowing Success.  Read Part 1 From Learn to Row to National Champions in 10 (Easy) Steps.

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