Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Learn to Row 2008

Sunday afternoon was my rowing club's second of three Learn to Row Days. Our first was more or less rained out, but we had beautiful weather this time. Ann bailed on going on our usual Sunday morning bike ride so the morning was given over to doing laundry and grocery shopping. After a quick lunch,I headed down to the boathouse. We've done these Learn to Row Days several times over the past couple of years so we have the routine pretty well down. The purpose, of course, is to introduce people to the sport of rowing and hopefully have them join our club. The first thing we do is give our guests is a tour of the boathouse and give them some background on our club and rowing in general.

After the boathouse tour, we take them out on one of the docks to the erg machines. The rowing simulators are mainly used for off water conditioning, but they also prove useful to teach the basic rowing stroke. We have a few club members that are certified erg instructors and they teach our guests how to erg.

After our guests get the basic rowing stroke down we send them off to the barge. The barge is like it sounds - a clunky, but very stable floating platform on which to further refine the rowing stroke. Like a rowing shell, the barge uses regular oars and has sliding seats. Every guest gets a chance to give it a try with club members demonstrating proper technique and offering advice and lots of encouragement. We used to send the barge out into the cove, but it took to long to get out and back. Now we keep it chained to the dock and it works just as well from a rower's perspective.

After the ergs and the barge, our guests are ready for the real thing - rowing in a real 8 man shell. We put four guests in the middle four seats with experienced rowers in the bow pair and stern pair. Yours truly was originally designated to give the boathouse tours, but got drafted into coxing. Here our first group of guest pushes away from the docks in preparation to heading out of the cove and onto the Occoquan. That's me in the very back of the shell. I'm a little big to be a coxswain and it's a tight fit for me.

Finally our guests get to show their stuff and row on the Occoquan. Most do surprisingly well for just getting a crash course on how to row. We like to think if we can get you into a shell, we've got you as a member. Rowing is just that good. Next up for us is our two week rowing camp dubbed "Raw Knucks".

All pictures are courtesy of Bob Rodriquez.


Caitlyn said...

Oh man, I can't believe you guys have a barge. We usually teach the kids a quick stroke on the erg and toss them in the boat.
And yes, my kids will be rowing at Stotes this weekend. We're also sending all 7 of our boats to Nationals, so that'll be exciting (Except for the 15 hour bus ride I'll have to be in).

I was also just asked to cox a Master's boat up here on boathouse row, so I'll probably need some tips. Masters is A LOT different from the college boys I coxed last.

Frank said...

Hi Caitlyn! The nice thing about coxing Masters is they can buy you drinks after the race. :-)