Learn to Row

Learn To Row 
Have you seen the rowing at the Olympics or the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race on the TV?
Have you thought that there is no way that you can do that kind of thing – that rowing is for really fit and tall people…..? 
Well think again…. Rowing is an activity for everyone – for people who want to go out and race to win and for those who want to simply mess around on the river. It doesn’t matter what your age is – you’re never too old or young to learn to row. 
The Devil’s Elbow runs it British Rowing approved ‘Learn to Row’ course in the spring. This works well and gives the novices the chance to embed their new skills over the rest of the summer.
The course is limited to 12 people, on a first come first served basis. 
5 (2.5hr) sessions plus capsize drill and mini fun races
• Safety briefing
• Mini Races
• Opportunity to try out different boats and types of rowing
• British Rowing Explore Rowing Course handbook
• British Rowing membership for 3 months once joined the club.
• British Rowing trained coaches.
Ideally we would like you to attend all 5 sessions and the races to make the most out of your time with us.
There are various follow-on options from the course if you decide you would like to join the club and take up rowing, coxing or even volunteering. 
Frequently Asked Questions about ‘Learn to Row’
Q: Do I need to be able to swim to attend the course?
A: It is a requirement for the course that you can swim 50 metres in light clothing, swim 5m underwater and tread water for 2 minutes. Buoyancy aids are available for anyone who is not a confident swimmer, but these can interfere with rowing technique and you are strongly advised to be a confident swimmer before starting the course. Coxes wear a buoyancy aid at all times regardless of swimming ability. This will be tested at the mandatory Swim Test and Capsize drill in a local swimming pool. 
Q: How much does the course cost?
A: The fee for the course is £85. This includes an Explore Rowing Handbook, temporary club membership, coaching and training from qualified British Rowing coaches. 
Q: Do I need to be able to attend every session? 
A: No, although the more you can attend the better to ensure you are progressing at the same pace as everyone else on the course.
Q: When do I pay the course fee?
A: To guarantee your place on the course you will need to pay the fee when you sign up, by BACS using the bank details on the application form, via PayPal or by sending a cheque payable to “Devil’s Elbow Rowing Club”.
Q: Do I need to sign anything?
A: Yes, you will need to fill in a temporary membership form before you can start the course. We do need to have these in advance, either by email or post. 
Q: How long will the sessions last?
A: The water sessions will typically last about 2.5 hours. This includes the time to get the boat on and off the water.  
Q: What do I need to wear for the first session? 
A: The first session will be an introduction to the club, some safety issues and some technique work on the ergos (rowing machines). For this session you will be fine with typical gym clothing. We will cover water based clothing during this first session.
Q: Will we be out in boats every session?
A: This depends on weather, light levels and availability of volunteers. We will always try and get everyone out on the water for each session.  
Q: Do I need to be super fit to do the course?
A: Not at all, anyone is welcome to join regardless of fitness levels. Like many sports if you wish to compete then rowing does take a lot of commitment, but we welcome recreational rowers.  
Q: Am I going to fall in?
A: Although we can’t 100% guarantee you won’t fall in, it’s very rare when in the types of boats you will be using. We will cover all aspects of water health and safety on the course and coaches will be available on the bank should an incident happen.
Q: What if I’ve done some rowing before?
A: If you have some previous experience of rowing then get in touch and we will assess how best to fit you into the club.
Q: Where can I find out more information about rowing before the course start date? 
A: The best place for information about rowing is the sport’s national governing body: http://www.britishrowing.org/
You can also see useful content on the Novices page of our rowing resources section. Click here

Still Not Sure?

Thinking of giving it a go but not sure? Have a read below with comments from two shiny, new Devils who took part in the Spring 2021 Learn to Row. 

The Reluctant Rower

It was May 2021, and I was reluctantly persuaded to attend the learn to row course. I wasn’t keen, I didn’t like open water, didn’t want to get wet and though it just ‘wasn’t my thing’. It turned out I couldn’t have been more wrong. After my first session and first outing on the water a seed had been planted. I was overjoyed I didn’t get soaked and intrigued by the skill and technique required and I wanted to learn more.

By the end of the learn to row course I could row in a very rudimentary way, but I was hooked. I knew I could improve and wanted more time on the water so decided to join as a full recreational member. Nine months on this was one of the best decisions I have ever made and eagerly look forward to every session, even when its wet, cold and windy. Some of my favourite rows are at night when it is so peaceful and when the moonlight sparkles on the water its magical. Rowing has changed me both physically and mentally by being not only fitter but being on the water and the rhythm of the stroke is great way to relax and unwind.  

Devil’s members are a super friendly group of people who are passionate about rowing. They are patient, skilled, encouraging and generous with their time. There is a culture at the club of wanting to nurture new members to develop their rowing abilities and for them to learn new skills. The great sense of comradery is bolstered by regular social events and plenty of cake!

I would highly recommend the learn to row course even if like me you don’t think it’s your thing or are fearful of open water. Who knows you may also be surprised and find it’s the best thing you ever did.  

The Reconnected Rower

I had often seen the boats rowing down the river whilst walking with my husband and family and thought it would be a marvellous thing to try.  At the time two things held me back, a fear of deep water and shyness! However, one day after a walk by the river and feeling particularly envious of the rowers, I went home and looked on the internet at the club. I saw they offered Learn to Row and then recreational rowing so I emailed the club about it before I could change my mind. 

That was at the beginning of lockdown, so it wasn’t until the early summer of 2021 that I was offered a place on Learn to Row.  As enthralled as I was with the opportunity to do something normal during Covid 19, I had started to suffer from and receive help for, almost (at times) paralysing anxiety.  This initially held me back, but something inside told me I should go for it. I am so pleased I listened to my inner voice!  The people at the club welcomed us all, everyone is lovely, approachable, and friendly. They really are a wonderful bunch of people who go out of their way to help, who persevere with us newbies, so we learn and develop the skills to row.  Rowing also has social events which are great way to get to know everyone better and really are good fun.

I have found rowing to be a wonderful, calming and rewarding exercise. It is a challenging skill to master, but the rewards far outweigh this. If I have had a stressful day, feel anxious or tired, rowing brings me back to the present, invigorates me and makes me feel good. It is wonderful way to enjoy nature, to see the wildlife at the river’s edge. From learning to live with anxiety I know concentrating the senses to be “in the present” is an excellent method to cope and calm. Learning this new skill has also given me purpose. I can say without doubt, that learning to row has been key in getting myself back to feeling me.

As for the fear of water?? To be honest you are too busy rowing and enjoying yourself to care!

If you think you would like to be part of our next Learn to Row and be the first to know when it starts,then contact our membership secretary using the website contact form or through membership@devilselbowrowing.co.uk