SCHOOL ROWING PROGRAMME
Step 1 – Indoor rowing
The Indoor rowing programme revolved around Mark Bavington attending school PE lessons for Year 9 students initially so that he can introduce them to the sport and provide professional coaching in the process.
The plan is two-fold; initially to simply give all students an opportunity to try the sport on the indoor rowers with the insights of someone who has rowed at a high level nationally and for his country. This then allows students from all sports (or no sports!) to get invovled and have a go – with the younger age groups all of the competitions are over a time – so from 3 minutes, 4 minutes etc etc – in this way everyone starts together and finishes together but will have travelled a different distance to establish where they are placed. There is no ‘coming last in cross country’ type feeling here!
It also allows students to take small steps forward – to aim for the next person above them as the target and know that through their own work and expert coaching they can always improve.
All those showing enthusiasm and talent will want to stay on board and that in turn can attract other students to get involved – school Indoor Rowing clubs and talent identification come from that.
Better results from more application and better coaching – skills to take into the classroom!
Step 2: Wet start –
The second step is of course to get them all into a boat! This is an expensive undertaking for any school or club – a top of the range racing eight as used by the likes of Bedford School or Bedford Modern School costs as much as £40,000. However for our partner schools they get access to the coaching above AND then a boathouse and boats for a tiny fraction of the cost of a single boat.
This will take the form of afternoon sessions at Star Club with staff bringing a minibus (or more) of students to come along and try out on the water.
Progress from here leads to crews from each school and the biggest strength of the programme of combining the best athletes from each school to race and take on the best rowing schools in the country with an eye to national and international selection.
This is powerful stuff – rowing events are generally ‘open’ events so the schools’ all get their names out there alongside all of the traditional rowing schools such as Eton plus all of the clubs and universities across the country that are competing at the same event.