What does it take to excel in competitive youth rowing eights?
Firstly, you have to enjoy the sport. Go join a group with fun people in it and enjoy meeting them when you train. [This is because a strong bond between athletes makes them perform better under pressure because they don’t want to let their friends down.]
Secondly find a club with a youth section who has a coaching team. [Without good instruction you’ll find it hard to excel.] Check out the races the club has won in prior years and this will give you a clue about which clubs in your area have a good reputation.
Thirdly, join up and attend the club regularly. This could be twice or three times a week if you’re aged under 15. After you complete one year of rowing crew, have a discussion with the coach and your parents about what they have planned for year 2. Then decide if you want to continue. [this will set expectations and after a year you will have a good idea of what it’s like to do rowing.]
After you have acquired a couple of years worth of skill and experience, then review your race results, compare yourself to the top athletes in your group and decide if you want to become the ‘top dog’ in the group. This will require more training time, more effort and personal drive. It will also compromise your social life – so don’t expect to be going to parties and then getting up early to row every weekend. Those things are incompatible in the long term.
If you want to continue and you can still enjoy the training, racing and don’t mind missing some of the parties – then you are well placed to do well at youth crew events.
You may also want to read this article about How much should Juniors Train for Rowing. It includes links to useful articles for Parents (you guys are SO IMPORTANT) as well as guidance for rowing coaches with athletes from age 10 up to 19 years.