Jim Flood’s manifesto is both well-written and easy to read; two qualities that make it an excellent resource for a variety of clubs and rowers. This is especially significant because it speaks to one of the main points Flood makes: rowing can be made more accessible to those who have never tried the sport and those who need encouragement in order to excel.
What makes these observations so worthy of attention is that they come with recommendations for how current members of the rowing community can widen access and improve retainment for beginners. For example, not only does Flood point out that adults and children learn differently, he offers specifics for how these learning styles differ and which tactics are most effective with what group. He comments on every aspect of learning, from cognitive processes to feeling welcomed within a new group.
Rather than list the points he makes or rank their usefulness, however, I feel it is more important to commend Flood for recognising that we could improve the rowing experience for countless teams and individuals by agreeing upon beginner-oriented basics that every rowing program can include. It is refreshing to read a rowing manifesto that prioritises the experience of learning and the efforts every coach can take to contribute to best practices. As someone who has been the beneficiary of a great novice coach, I cannot speak highly enough of leaders who make use of encouragement and enthusiasm as much as technical expertise and training cycles.
Flood’s publication is succinct, informative, and encouraging in its own right, and makes excellent reading for any coach. I will certainly be making use of it in my own coaching efforts, and encourage even far more experienced coaches to do the same. A free copy can be found here on the Rowperfect website using this link: A Manifesto to Improve Club Rowing for Beginners. Although the e-book is one of many excellent free resources available on Rowperfect, Flood kindly asks that you donate to Oxfam here: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/donate.
Thank you for supporting Jim Flood and Rowperfect, and best of luck to you and our beginner rowing friends!