As the dust begins to settle on the most successful Olympics in 100 years two sports topped the medal tables with a total of 9 medals – Cycling and Rowing. Now could not be a better time to join a sports club and in particular, a Rowing Club. If you fancy yourself as the next Steve Redgrave then what are you waiting for?
The first thing to do is to locate your nearest Club. By simply typing your postcode into British Rowing’s ‘Club Finder’ a list of the nearest clubs to your house will appear. With 550 registered clubs located all over the country, from the Thames to the Tees you are guaranteed to find one. Clubs vary widely in size, number of members and facilities, however, one thing is certain, they will have boats and a stretch of water waiting for you.
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Most clubs run Learn to Row courses, aimed at complete beginners, which usually take place over the course of 6 weeks, with one two hour session each week, although this can vary. These courses are incredibly reasonably priced ranging from £75 – £150 depending on location and club, and you are not tied down to the six week course until you have had an all important free taster session to see whether rowing is for you. The myths of being up at the crack of dawn are not true when learning to row. Most sessions would take place in the evenings, or at the weekends – your lie ins are safe.
Many clubs have a minimum age of 13, whilst some have courses and squads for those as young as 11. No clubs have a maximum age, with 700 people over the age of 50 taking up rowing last year, it really is a sport for all ages. The only stipulation is that you must be in good health and be able to swim 50 meters in light clothes and shoes.
Whether you want to take up rowing to explore your local waterways, or you want to take up rowing to be winning gold in Rio then your club will be able to cater for your needs. Not only is it a great way to meet likeminded people you can improve your fitness whilst doing something genuinely enjoyable. Many people join clubs on their own, and you can even learn to row in a boat by yourself (known as sculling), if being part of a large crew does not sound like your idea of fun.
Whilst local clubs are perfect for some, many Schools and Universities also have large rowing squads that compete at national events. It is a great way for children to pick up valuable disciplines, teamwork, determination and a passion for sport.
Who knows, you might be finding yourself competing at Henley Royal Regatta next year, rather than resuming your usual spot in the enclosures.
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