Dealing with demand


After a stunning summer of sport, British Rowing’s Education & Training Manager Celia Hetherington has some advice that coaches, clubs and volunteers may find useful when dealing with the unprecedented demand for rowing in the UK.

Top tips for organising an engaging taster session

Taster sessions are a fantastic way to engage prospective new rowers. The following tips should help ensure that taster sessions run safely and efficiently, whilst keeping the transition from taster session to Learn to Row course as smooth as possible.

  • Keep it short! 30 minutes is a good start for a taster session,
  • Be realistic about how many people can attend – thinking about equipment, coaches, and your environment. Don’t make the group too large,
  • Have one person in charge of organising the session – from dealing with applications to tracking attendees and ensuring that boats, coaches and helpers are all available,
  • It is best practice to have a qualified coach in charge,
  • Remember to complete a Risk Assessment for the activity,
  • At the end of each session, keep a record of who wants to come back to Learn to Row (and, if possible, provide them with course dates),
  • If your next Learn to Row course is not for some time, consider inviting people back for another taster session – perhaps combine it with a social activity, such as a club night,
  • If your next Learn to Row course is fully subscribed, consider offering indoor rowing sessions at the club until there is space on a Learn to Row course.
Adaptive rowing – looking for the opportunities, not the barriers

The London 2012 Paralympic Games have opened the public’s eyes to rowing for people with a disability.

While some people will need specially designed seats and rigging in order to row, many people with a registered disability are able to row without the need for adaptive equipment.

Your club may already be able to accommodate disabled rowers, depending on the nature of their disability.

If you have any questions about coaching adaptive rowers, contact British Rowing’s Adaptive Coach Maddie Millichap on or your local British Rowing Team Leader.

You can also find advice in Section 3.3 of RowSafe.

Coping with increased demand for Learn to Row courses

We’ve been hearing fantastic reports from Learn to Row courses across the country, with more and more people looking to learn our sport for themselves. To make sure that your sessions are as effective as possible, take a look at the following points:

  • Make things easier for yourself by having people attend once a week – it’s better to run two separate courses a week than one course with two sessions a week,
  • Be organised – plan your sessions, sticking to an agreed format and keeping detailed records,
  • Invite attendees to social evenings to, so that they can see more of the club even if you can’t offer much time on the water,
  • Above all be cheerful and welcoming, even if you don’t have much time or space!

Remember to talk to your British Rowing Team Leader if you are overwhelmed – there may be another club or water sports centre that could help out. We would also encourage members of your club to consider the Rowing Leader training course, which allows rowers to support the delivery of activity under the supervision of a qualified coach.

Celia Hetherington

British Rowing Education & Training Manager

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