Junior Learn-to-Row courses prove popular at Peterborough City
Junior Co-ordinator Steve Casey explains more about how the club runs the courses – and manages the sometimes-tricky transition to full membership
“Our preference is to do the course on four consecutive days during half term or school holidays as we find we get better and quicker progression that way.”
Like many clubs, Peterborough City RC has been running intensive junior Learn to Row courses this summer. These include two sessions per day, with a break for a snack, for four days. Steve explains, “We do occasionally run the course over eight consecutive Saturdays or Sundays but our preference is to do the course on four consecutive days during half term or school holidays as we find we get better and quicker progression that way. We generally run three to four courses per year.”
Typically, the courses kick off the week with a tour round the boathouse and then move on to how participants can keep themselves and others safe, an introduction to the boat, gym and ergos where they begin to introduce the sequencing of the rowing stroke. The remainder of the sessions are on the water where skill exercises are introduced to help the youngsters build up the stroke with the aim that by the last session they should be competent to single scull with correct technique for a reasonable distance. At the end of the week there’s a fun regatta where everyone can put what they’ve learned to the test!
Those who complete the course are presented with a certificate during a little ceremony on the final day. Steve adds, “Occasionally, we will have a capsize and we are conscious that this can be embarrassing for the first person to fall in so we also award them trophy such as a medal, particularly if they followed the capsize drill that we’d taught them. We have found this makes them feel special that they did something well and that falling in is nothing to be embarrassed about.”
To encourage the new Learn to Row graduates to take the next step into the junior squad, the course fee includes three months membership of the Club. “We provide this as we have found that we know that the sport of rowing isn’t for everyone so this gives the athletes some time to trial the sport after completing the course without incurring extra cost of paying for membership fees,” Steve explains.
As well as being an effective recruitment channel, the courses provide the club with a valuable source of income to assist with equipment refurbishment and replacement. All of the coaches are volunteers.