Issue 104 - December 1997
There has been a lot of debate and concern in recent years with the problem of attracting and retaining young people in rowing. The drop out rate is uncomfortably high and this is reflected in the number of entries at regattas in some parts of the country.
Reasons for this include pressure of work and the change experienced when young people move from school to higher education and then into work; the demand that some clubs place on members to train five to seven times per week, and competition with other sports.
Under the Forward Plan 1997-2001, the ARA has drawn up a business plan for young people and coaching in conjunction with the Sports Council. The aim is to attract, support and retain young people in rowing to ensure that rowing continues to make history instead of becoming history.
The targets are:
The project will be piloted in the Northwest and Thames Upper in 1998. More clubs will be invited into the programme in each of the years 1999, 2000 and 2001 by when it is planned to have 50 clubs in the programme.
The RCDOs will introduce ergometers in the participating schools in the January term. After the initial instruction and a short period of familiarisation with the equipment the RCDO will return to the school and test the children in the first form 11-12 year olds. The ergometers will remain in the school for the rest of the term and the children will be encouraged to do a 25km fitness challenge test and gain an award.
During this term the RCDOs will provide ongoing support at the schools. At the end of the term, 15-20 children will be invited to the water stage, post-Easter, where they will be introduced to boats at the club and taught the skills of sculling and boat drills. This will be repeated annually with each school. Over the four years approximately 30,000 children will have experienced rowing on an ergometer and tested.
Each participating club must have a qualified group of coaches to run the junior section. The RCDOs and volunteers will deliver this programme. Clubs will be able to apply for Lottery Sports Fund assistance for boats and equipment.
To ensure that we build a truly national junior rowing programme the ARA/ English Sports Council project team have commissioned resource packs. These will include teaching and instructional guides together with proposals for fun events, awards and associated activities designed to make the experience of rowing stimulating, enjoyable and rewarding. Instructional aids will have a step by step approach to a child's introduction to the ergometer and boat which will be the same wherever the child is located.
Ideas, thoughts, experiences and suggestions are welcomed by the consultants
developing the packs:
© Copyright Brian Armstrong, 1997.
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