Rowing in the U.K. is coordinated by the Amateur Rowing Association (ARA). There are over five hundred clubs affiliated to the organisation. This means there is a rowing club available to you in most towns and cities.
Start Rowing From Age 9
Children can start rowing from around the age of nine, although it is more normal to find children from the age of thirteen and upwards becoming involved in the sport.
Reasons for Rowing
If you have not considered rowing as a possible sport for your child before then there are number of reasons to consider doing so:
- . It is great for fitness
- . Rowing is a low impact sport, so it does not put an undue strain on key joints
- . It gives a great cardiovascular work out
- . It helps to build and strengthen muscle
- . Rowing exercises more muscles than any other sport
Teamwork and Endurance
In addition it is a great way for children to learn the importance of teamwork. Everyone in the boat has a job to do and everybody needs to pull their weight. It is an excellent sport for helping to build both physical and mental endurance.
Great for Competitive Children
Rowing can also be a highly competitive sport. Therefore children who show an aptitude for rowing have the chance to progress rapidly in a positive environment.
Great for Getting Teenagers Outdoors
With most rowing taking place outdoors it is a good way for teenagers who may otherwise be stuck at home to get out in the fresh air and blow away some cobwebs.
Good for Social Development
Rowing clubs are very good for social development. Clubs usually have a busy social calendar and children are involved at least to some degree. Many clubs will host and also go away to regatta weekends. Some clubs will also go abroad for training camps.
Price Guide for Joining a Club
Although not cheap the cost of a junior rowing club membership is favourable compared to many other sporting activities. In many cases you will find junior subscriptions available at a cost between £100 and £150 per year. Many clubs offer a free trial period to children who would like to try rowing. Aside from clothing a club will provide all the equipment your child needs.
Rowing boats are surprisingly expensive. Your child is likely to find themselves out on a river rowing a boat that cost a couple of thousand pounds. Therefore children are expected to act responsibly at all times. It is very easy to damage boats, so joining a rowing club can also improve discipline and general awareness about the value of other people's property.
Rowing Lessons and Coaching
Rowing clubs are forward thinking when it comes to coaching and during the first few weeks you can expect your child to receive a comprehensive grounding in rowing technique. Early coaching is carried out using special training boats. These are designed to be very steady in the water. This helps to build a child's confidence before moving onto faster and narrower racing boats.
Racing and Competing
The purpose of rowing is to get children competing against others. So your child may find themselves racing quite quickly depending on the aptitude they show for the sport. Be aware that sometimes you will have to travel a long way to events. As events start early this will mean getting up early on race days for both your child and for you if you are taking them there.
There is a pecking order when it comes to rowing clubs. There are top end "elite" clubs. Clubs further down the scale can be a good place to start and often act as feeder clubs to the higher level ones.
It's a Tough Sport
As well as being physically and mentally tough rowing can place demands on teenagers that they will not find elsewhere. A lot of clubs start coaching sessions early in the morning. So your child may be expected to turn up ready to row at 8 o'clock on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, all year round. This usually means a heavy commitment for parents too.
As long as the river is calm enough rowing lessons and coaching sessions go ahead on the water no matter how cold it is. If the river is running too fast and deemed unsafe indoor training will go ahead instead.
Rowing is not a sport for the faint hearted and anyone lacking commitment will drop out quite quickly.
Look Out for Rowing Clubs With Clubmark Accreditation
More advanced clubs can offer indoor training on rowing machines in winter and in bad weather. When selecting a club look out for ones who have a Clubmark accreditation. This is a scheme run by Sport England and sets a standard for clubs to reach. In order to be awarded a Clubmark accreditation a rowing club has to prove it has high standards of child protection and safety, quality coaching, equal opportunities and good management.
Follow this link to find a rowing club near to where you live: Rowing Clubs