Beginner rowers joining your club group

Incorporating novices into your club is essential as part of keeping the membership from attrition.

Rebecca and Marlene discuss how to set up and teach a novice group and ways to incorporate them into your main club group after they finish a learn to row course.


01:15 This Past Week – what we do to advocate for masters rowing. Rebecca’s rowing hack got published on row2k – the Coxing Plank. Marlene has been teaching new novices.

Beginners joining your group

06:00 Beginners joining your group. Do you start in single sculls or team boats? The coach does a 1 on 1 session overview of the sport. Important to get in the boat in the first lesson.

Nobody ever asks how do I turn the boat around! First session – ensure they are comfortable, it’s a stable boat, they can find where the water is with the oars.

Incorporating novices into your club

14:00 Incorporating novices into your club – start them in a group together.

People learn at different speeds. – basic skills of stopping, backiing, turning and rowing. Do check how to structure your learn to row programme tuition in Volker Nolte’s book, Masters Rowing. Wolfgang Fritzch wrote the chapter on novices. It’s excellent. [affiliate link].

18:00 How we learn Just try it. We learn by discovery

People ask questions – it’s best to let them do this and answer what they ask (it tells you a lot about how you teach and whether they have comprehended the information you shared). Incorporate drills to explain and clarify.

24:00 Tell people how to do things not just what change you want them to make.

Use drills to isolate part of the stroke and practice them slowly.

  • explain in words
  • demonstrate the point on land
  • let the athletes try it in the boat
  • use a drill or exercise

Remember if you talk to athletes while they are rowing they often don’t listen. It may be better to talk when they have stoped rowing.

26:00 Jam sessions – mixing abilities in crews

Build this into your club season – mixed ability groups. The novices scale up and the experienced people scale down. It allows novices to experience acceleration in a boat. What does swing feel like? It’s easy to improve rhythm and timing when you have been shown how to do it and felt the boat move.

30:00 Shadow rowing is useful especially for visual learners

31:00 Coaching groups of different speeds Individual attention for people of different abilities Give time to process the coaching advice. Position the launch (coach boat) so the slow people go first.

39:00 Feedback from a fitness athlete on the new fitness program.

How to manage beginners joining your club rowing group
Beginner learn to row people merge into club rowing group