Welcome to the world of rowing!
Congratulations, you have chosen a sport that is not only satisfying in the short term, but because of its nature (a low impact sport) you will be able to enjoy it throughout your entire life. In most parts of the United States, and indeed the whole world, you are more than likely to find a rowing club to join and an instant “family” that instantly understands and accepts you. You will learn new terms and be able to speak a language that sounds foreign to the average person. While it may be true that there are certain physical characteristics that provide an “advantage” (height for instance) anyone can learn to row, and anyone can row well. The secret is a willingness to learn and to work hard. It is not an easy sport (although you do get to sit a lot) but once you understand the basics and what the sport entails you will achieve a level of success. The coach can instruct you, but the level of success that you attain will depend upon you.
Kansas City Rowing Club was started in 1992. The KCRC Juniors practice 5 days a week almost the whole year. We also attend 2 to 3 regattas each season. Some of those regattas include the KCRC master’s participation. Because of their greater experience, it is encouraged that Juniors row with the master’s from time to time. Each experience is valuable because it allows the Junior a different perspective of rowing other than the coach’s point of view.
There are some ground rules that need to be covered to ensure a positive rowing experience.
It is expected that the rower attends all the practices that he or she has signed up for. The coach understands that school is a priority, but one of the benefits of rowing is that it teaches time management skills that not only will benefit the Junior currently but later in life. Should the Junior continue rowing in college, this skill will become readily apparent and appreciated since the demands on available time increase dramatically. However, a greater benefit is that fact that the more a Junior rows, the better they become. There is no substitute for meters and meters and meters of rowing. In the rare event that the Junior is unable to attend a practice, the Junior will need to contact the coach as soon as possible by text. The coach believes that stable boat seating assignments are preferable and if a Junior does not appear, it places that day’s boatings in jeopardy.
At the beginning of each season (and posted on the KCRC website) a list of Regattas and dates will be distributed by the coach in oral and/or written form. It is expected that the Junior and Parent know these dates early so that preliminary boatings can be decided and any conflicts can be acceptably resolved. Because of the cost, travel and work put into preparation for each regatta, each Junior can expect to row in multiple events within reason. Since this is a team sport, the availability of the Junior for each regatta is important. If a late/unknown conflict arises the whole entry in a race can be cancelled causing disappointment and wasted opportunity for the other boat’s members. Should a Junior indicate that he or she is attending a regatta and then the changes his or her mind after the entries have been made for said regatta, the Junior will still be liable for the Regatta fees. The costs are divided equally among the participants. After the deadline has passed, it is not fair to the other Juniors to re-adjust the cost to make up for the absent Junior. (It is understood that emergencies do occur, and every effort will be made to resolve that situation.)
The travel to a regatta and overnight stay (if required) is the responsibility of each Junior and Parent. Parents are very much invited to attend each regatta, but it is not unheard of for Juniors to carpool with other Junior’s parents if acceptable terms are agreed upon prior to the Regatta travel. Food is usually provided by the parents and they get the chance to see their child in action. Regattas are competitions among peers from in and out of state. It is a great chance to see how the team (as a whole) compares to other clubs as well as affirms the amount of practice expended in preparation by a particular boat.
Because the KCRC Club’s boats are transported to each regatta, it is the responsibility of each Junior (whether participating in the regatta or not) to help prepare the boats (called de-rigging) for travel. This event usually occurs the Thursday before the Regatta. After each regatta, participating Juniors are expected to travel back to Lake Wyandotte to unload the boats, riggers, oars and other equipment and place them back into the compound. It is expected that each Junior will participate in the rigging, de-rigging, loading of boats and unloading of boats. From the requirements, Juniors will learn the importance of these skills as well as honing their abilities to be a self-starter and problem solver. Furthermore, these skills will impress future coaches (whether at the college level or beyond). Juniors that can load/unload the boat trailer and care for the equipment are invaluable and greatly contribute to the success of any rowing program.
The Junior rower will practice respect in the Kansas City Rowing Club Junior program. This includes respect for the coach, the equipment and the adults in the program.
The coach of the program has had many years of rowing experience and is expected to teach and fine-tune rowing technique of each rower. It is imperative that the Junior be willing to listen and adjust his or her behavior to fit the situation. The Junior rower will be expected to be positive on the water as well as on the land and not engage in any behavior that will compromise that positivity. Junior rowers are encouraged to question theories that they do not understand to obtain the desired result.
The equipment that is owned by the club is worth many thousands of dollars. If maintained and respected, the equipment will last for years and allow the club to add to the fleet and upgrade equipment instead of always having to repair boats or other broken gear. It is imperative that the Junior strive to be as careful as possible with the boat – whether it be hauling it, rowing in it or preparing it for transport. Corrective actions will include many calisthenics and possible exclusion from the team.
At many regattas and even practice, parents and Master rowers may be in attendance.
One of the main rules that is to be followed is that there is no talking in the boat. The bow or the coxswain is charged with guiding the boat at all times and excess talking can lead to accidents that would have been prevented with concentration. Also, the coach is tasked with the safety of the rowers and makes decisions based on that. This includes power boats in the area, weather conditions, rower experience and equipment suitability. The responsibility of the rower is to pay close attention to the coach’s instructions and to point out areas of concern. The latter would include letting the coach know that lightning was spotted, broken equipment, unsafe boating practices, etc.