Rowing in the SOUTH

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    Nov 14, 2012 2:23 PM GMT
    A few weeks ago, I started rowing again with a masters rowing club.

    I posted a few ads online to get people to join the team, and now it looks like we're going to have a novice boat to compete once the rest of the guys get the hang of the sport.

    Has anyone started a team in their area before? Any tips on how to get the practices together? We are having trouble because in college everyone had time off. But now, everyone works and has families etc.

    Also, any rowing clubs have a practice spot in ur boat for when I travel? I'd love to come row while I'm in your city. I travel quite a bit? If you're ever in New Orleans, hit me up!

    If anyone wants to post photos of your rowing, team, unis, etc, lets compare!
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    Nov 14, 2012 5:10 PM GMT
    I have helped get a couple masters rowing groups going after "lulls" and helped rebuild. The key is to allow anyone and everyone, and not be all "elitist" and "picky" about who you let on the team.

    You are all adults, and all have "real" lives now. Work, family, other commitments. Rowing is now just something you do for fun, it is not your life. Sometimes I have coached "masters" level rowers that treat rowing as their life way into their 30s, but they are sad people that nobody really likes to row with.

    Start off by having practices on weeknights and maybe early one morning on a weekend. Most people with kids will have weekend mornings off and the kids will be home watching saturday morning cartoons. Weeknights after work is a great way to forget about work problems. More than two nights a week and husbands/wives will get mad that they are not spending enough time with the family.

    As long as your keep the team open and allow anyone with any previous rowing experience, you can start to BUILD the team. Face it, you need bodies to make a 4 and an 8.

    At the beginning you will need to have a coach that can bring together all the types of rowing in the boat. Some guys might come from clubs, others from "snobby" schools like Yale, others might just have learned to row after college. Wherever they come from they NEED to get together and change to match the coach's vision of technique. If you have, say, a harvard snob, calling all the shots, because he went to Harvard, then, make him the coach. But really some of the best coaches are the ones from out of nowhere. Take it from me, you can come from a State school that won nothing significant and turn a team into a nationally recognized program.

    Outside of the regular water practices it would be a good idea to encourage erg workouts, but keep in mind Masters level guys might not have that much time.

    When it comes time for competition, it is totally ok to have mixed up boats with "all" level of guys and then break out into A, B and C boats in the 4s. This way the faster and better guys have a chance at medals, but then EVERYONE feels like a member of the team. I think that the slower guys know they are slower, no need to keep them from practicing in the same boat as the "fast" guys. The goal is to get everyone rowing with correct form and technique on the water and then just before races really work to boat the lineups you are racing.

    As people start to hear and learn about the program, and interest grows, you will get more people on the team. Because you kept the door open to anyone, they will see it is a low pressure club and FUN. Trust me, you dont want the type of guys that are "oh.. they allow anyone? not just guys from harvard and Yale? oh, well then you are not serious, I dont want to join" Those are the worsr type of rowers for an adult team and what I call "boat cancer".

    Lastly, make sure you specify WHO is in charge. It should be the coach, not the captain. The captain and the coxswains need to do the Coach's bidding. Not the other way around. I have coached teams where the Captain and Cox made the decisions on who rowed in what boat, and it destroyed an amazing and fun team . The coach should not play favorites, and everyone should get equal treatment and priority for boats at practice. Seat racing and erg results should be fair and upfront for big races like Head of the Charles etc.
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    Nov 14, 2012 5:34 PM GMT
    I help DCStrokes in DC. You can row with us if you're in town
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    Nov 14, 2012 10:55 PM GMT
    I guess it would depend on how dedicated you all are- I ran athletic coaching for a number of years and scheduled 2 x 5am sessions as mandatory and 2 x 7pm sessions as sub-mandatory (encouraged but understandable commitments excused).

    My team was highly competitive and there were a couple who phased out early on but those who remained were dedicated and enthusiastic and an absolute pleasure to train. In return I offered them as much of my time additionally as possible.