Updated 1 Aug 2023
The course is based at Falcon (FBC) alongside and upstream of Donnington Bridge, Oxford. According to your availability and the intensity of the schedule, it will take around two months. The structure and content of the courses have been designed to follow the guidelines laid down by the governing body (British Rowing Ltd). A list of the objectives can be found in “Course objectives” which lists those outcomes which the course will be designed to cover.
There will be a series of sessions – perhaps 20+ in total – all of which you should try to attend. Most people will find that other priorities make this impossible but the more you attend the better the improvement and progress. These sessions will be a mix of land based erg and tank sessions plus water sessions whenever possible. After this time, it is expected that everyone will have attended 12-15 sessions.
The cost of the course includes 3 months full membership, equipment and facilities’ hire, insurance and, most significantly, dedicated coaching from the Learn-to-Row (L2R) team. The total price will be £180 which works out at about £10 per session. There is a discretionary discount for full-time students and other unwaged persons.
Subject to the size of the course, the availabilities of the people, external commitments and the conditions and accessibility of the river, there will be sessions on most weekend days usually late morning (somewhere around the 11am-2pm slot). There will also be possible midweek evening sessions when daylight allows.
If there are sufficient numbers to warrant it, there may be double or even triple sessions to accommodate everyone. This will extend the time over which the rowing takes place although you need only attend when your involvement is scheduled.
Courses will focus on technique. Sessions will not make any serious demands of a physical nature. Those wishing to use rowing to improve their fitness will have to be patient. Rowing is quite a straightforward but a disciplined sport. It is important to understand the essentials of the technique before trying to apply too much effort into moving the boat. Full details of the courses aims are on the page Course Objectives.
Falcon courses have been designed to promote the skills of sculling as well as (sweep) rowing and, by the end of the course, with the right aptitude, you should be competent enough to scull in a crew boat (i.e. not necessarily on your own).
During the winter, with its less clement weather and unpredictable river conditions, circumstances for teaching beginners are far from ideal. For this reason (and the high drop out rate it tends to promote) we do not usually entertain beginners’ courses over the harshest months (December – March).
“The Nine Rowing Ships”©1998:
(With apologies for gender specific terminology!)
– safety checks, boat parts (their use and adjustment), handling the boat onto the water etc;
– personal safety, risk assessment, contingency planning, getting into the boat, control and balance, manoeuvres, rowing technique, steering and stopping the boat etc;
– working together on timing and technique to ensure stability and effective rowing; being a team player;
Membership / Clubmanship
– understanding the club, its aims and your responsibilities within it.
– backstories, equality of opportunity, family support, teachers, friends, colleagues, crew mates and other key players
Friendship / Companionship
– the interdependence of members and their responses to each other’s needs, building bonds and strong ties between members;
– becoming a part of the global rowing community that holds mutual respect for its participants at all levels
– competing, rules of engagement, conduct
– adequate funding for the individual’s involvement plus the financing of the facilities needed to provide the opportunity to partake
– development of the athlete to their aspirational level